Friday, 30 September 2011

September 30 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

September 30 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

My world represented by the circle and the triangle. The circle is about inclusion and being included, and how to love and be loved and useful. A “triangle” which reminds me that unity, service and recovery are living principles. And our pledge “I am responsible” helps me be a citizen of the world today…

And life is difficult, and as long as I know life is difficult, I need not worry. With humility, in its true sense, I can keep on learning what works. I am allowed to make mistakes and keep on learning; it’s not about putting on an act and pretending to be okay, it is about living in the “real heat of now…”

DonInLondon 2005-2010

An equal opportunities employer as we come to understand some call “providence” and some call “god.” A whole world living to beliefs, some beliefs similar to all and all different dependent on our life experiences what we accept as true and what we do not accept without proof. Billions of people and all have a definition of what god is or is not. All definitions are right for each person, about the god we understand or refute. And we can all be agnostic, atheist and believers depending on what happens to us in this life.

It seems most of the people on the planet have a conscience, mostly good as we learn life in civilised societies. And some of us have been blown off course by life experiences, into addiction and alcoholism. There is no god when we are in the pit of despair and desolate, seeking oblivion from the truth of now, now is where we live all the time. We could live in the pit of any ism alcohol, drugs, attitudes and behaviour, where we are lost to reason. As some see the nature of god, man emulates god and fails to live in reality. Ego, fear and brave face, will keep us in desolation and ignorance, self-will turned to self-obsession. Out of touch with today, out of touch to help and support.

A return to sanity is no real mystery. We let go old attitudes and behaviour and see what will work in reality. Reality is always now, what we do to help ourselves and others. If we help ourselves to the truth of now, we live in the now, we can see how to live and how to help other people live. As we live now, live to good conscience, we see the big picture and not just our outlook. We see we are interdependent, we are of the world, we face life on life’s terms, we accept what is in front of us, good or bad, we find acceptance of the truth of now.

It has taken me a long time to accept the notion that I am back in the world, a part of, I have a perspective on my life. And the same is true for anyone who lives in the day and faces life on life’s terms. We are all similar and still have our unique and authentic perspective; we absorb and or can become blunt to the truth of life today.

When life is good, we are thankful and can believe that providence is working for us, we believe life is worth living. When life is bad, life is not worth living and depending on how we shape ourselves to reality, providence does not favour us. Life and providence, we are powerless over people, places and things and we make more difficult with self-will and just one perspective, our own. When we ask for help, usually from those we know and have the wisdom, we get our choices back. Choices does not mean our self-willed outcome, it means the best choice based on reality, wisdom we hear, and every interdependent element which will impact on us.

What are our best choices today? To be a part of truth, to love and be loved back, to be useful in the world in whatever way is open to us. Usually we do not get what we want, we get what we need. Truth, love and wisdom we learn and wisdom shared through other humans. We work out next steps in good conscience, including people and with love in our hearts.

Unity, service and recovery are key, and all about living together in fellowship, applicable in all our living too. With an open mind, honest endeavour and willingness to keep on changing, life usually works out with our needs met and wants forgotten. We live providence, as nature intended, make choices in the moment of now. We all find our unique and authentic path of life, similar beyond any doubt and all of us able to make a difference today. We choose to do make a difference for the good of all.

September 30 2010 ~ who do we work for... god as we come to understand he, she or it. God is what you believe god to be. For me; god is truth, love and wisdom, the universe, nature and this word: "providence." Providence is where we all live today, life as it is, not wished or imagined. And spiritual, always reality in the moment of now...

September 30 2010 ~ step nine includes new ways to live and how to be useful. Our usefulness in fellowship is how we apply ourselves through three elements; unity, service and recovery. As we develop our outlook to be; open, honest and willing we see unity, service and recovery intertwined in fellowship and how we live life today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "the circle and the triangle... the circle stands for the whole world of AA, and the triangle stands for A.A.’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service. Within our wonderful new world, we have found freedom from our fatal obsession. [A.A. Comes Of Age]

Early in my A.A. life, I became employed in its services and I found the explanation of our society’s logo to be very appropriate. First: a circle of love and service with a well – balanced triangle inside, the base which represents our Recovery through Twelve Steps. Then, the other two sides represent Unity and Service, respectively. The three sides of the triangle are equal. As I grew in AA I soon identified myself with this symbol. I am the circle, and the sides of the triangle represent three aspects of my personality: physical, emotional sanity, spirituality, the latter forming the symbol’s base. Taken together, all three aspects of my personality translate into a sober and happy life."

September 29 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Looking for answers in our own life story, “why did I do that?” and the horror of harm done… Usually retaliation to harm done to be “why did they do that?” and the deep hurts felt… Today I hope I don’t do that, and no need to look for the why of me or you today…

Amends… the living amend to you, a sober day for me, full of mistakes, learning and understanding that humility is a way to broaden life experience and live in the moment of now. At my age I find pleasure in not knowing, no shame or guilt and no need to cover up today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

September 29 2010 ~ similar yes, at the same time we are unique and authentic in our journey just for today. In recovery, whether we are one hour sober or ten years sober, same day, same moment. How we see the day, in recovery, we can share, support and challenge each other, always as equals, always our personal experiences, with hope today...

September 29 2010 ~ exactly alike... we live in the same day as much as we can, sometimes haunted by the past, or fearful of the future, or simply in the moment of now where we find serenity is available if life and our heads let it be so. Serene when life is, alert when life requires, balance hopefully somewhere today...

Step Nine ~ STEP 9 “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Restitution can be in many forms, emotional, spiritual and physical to us and others. In addition we may have financial obligations to meet from the past, we do as we can and make good whenever it is possible and practical, without doing more harm than good.

Step nine and living differently, what does this mean day to day? A change in our attitudes and behaviour, we have learned all about how to live one day at a time, and then we need learn what works one day at a time. Letting go our old ways is rarely a one off transformation. It takes time to change, attitudes and behaviour need reinforcement, we need support and that is what fellowship can provide.

We are learning what it is like to be open and honest, to take steps to develop our courage and faith, to be able to see when we are wrong, admit and change our outlook. Be able to accept help without shame or guilt.

We accept we are learners every day, and we know there is always a tendency to slip back into old notions and ideas when the pressure is on. If we can remind ourselves, “sober and above ground” with basic needs met, we need not want.

The living amend to ourselves and others is to put into practice what we learn daily, what works, rather than complain about what does not work. Get help when we feel angry and cut off, avoid isolating and be a part of fellowship and life in general. Learn how to be useful and simply learn more about ourselves and the endless possibilities there may be today.

Learning how to change on a daily basis means we need not hold on to old ideas, a person in recovery changes beyond all recognition, there are no should do’s in recovery.

If we try hold on to what we had before, or seek it out, we need be sure it is good for us, people, places and things have been our triggers to drink in the past. A new start is available every day to improve our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. And similarly we need ensure we improve the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of others we encounter with our presence. If we undermine ourselves and others, time to change!

Life in recovery, every day is new, nothing taken for granted and always under review. Step nine the promise of new outlooks and new endeavour one day at a time…

AA Daily Reflections ~ "September 29 Step 9 A.A. Daily Reflections Video Reading ~} exactly alike... Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives. [Big book]

A man came to the meeting drunk, interrupted the speakers, stood up and took his shirt off, staggered loudly back and forth for coffee, demanded to talk, and eventually called the group’s secretary an unquotable name and walked out. I was glad he was there – once again I saw what I had been like. But I also saw what I still am, and what I still could be. I don’t have to be drunk to want to be the exception and the centre of attention. I have often felt abused and responded abusively when I was simply being treated as a garden variety human being. The more the man tried to insist he was different, the more I realized that he and I were exactly alike."

September 28 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Stop and rewind time please! If only, “can we run that again?” What we say can be forgiven, and sometimes even forgotten. Deep wounds in our steps can be healed. Not everyone has this capacity for healing or wants it. We do reap what we sow, best to sow love and tolerance today…

Anger and expectations are resentments already constructed from the past. Today’s expectations are resentments in the making, and when we feel we deserve better or think what have I done to deserve this? Time for a spot check inventory, my side of the street and my attitudes and behaviour…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

September 28 2010 ~ to love, be loved and useful, to cherish ourselves and others, without conditions. I will love myself when I am sober and therefore be able to love others? If I falter and slip, I can stop loving me, and stop loving others? No! Recovery is tough, the hard path yields the greatest rewards one day at a time, love for a day...

September 28 2010 ~ to love someone else responsibly requires forgiveness for ourselves and others. Without forgiveness nothing can be accomplished, either we close down or we close down on others. How we cherish and forgive is our responsibility. Treating ourselves and others with indifference and superficiality, we level everything to statistics...

What is love without strings? First we need grasp something of what love may be. Love might be a difficult to understand when we have felt abandoned and lost, and then we abandoned ourselves in whatever our isms are. My primary addiction which helped me into recovery was alcohol. Alcoholism, I am an alcoholic in recovery. And I realise I was co-dependent on alcohol. Alcohol had the power over me, and I always thought it was the other way round. Even one drink in the past would change the way I felt about life, to the good or bad, and in the end drink gave me oblivion from the hell life had become.

Fellowship has and is teaching me all about love. How to love and be loved back is difficult. Make no mistake love is always with us, we need learn how to express love and receive love, undemanding of others and unconditional. We need accept the capacities of love on offer from others, as we do our best; others are doing their best too. And sometimes love in action is fantastic, by us and to us, and on the other hand we may take for granted that we can do and behave as we may and be superficial and indifferent to our impact on others. We behave as if love is guaranteed and we need not develop or cherish and foster love by our actions. Love in action as we come to understand, as we learn and not as a theory without any foundation.

Love in friendship, love in fellowship, love of a partner, love of live are contingent on learning how to love. So often we had learned the opposite, how to be aloof, let go others and abandon them before they abandon us. My background is rife with abandonment and it has taken a while to realise the true impact this has had on me and my life today. I am still a learner and will be always.

Step nine sometimes the culmination of making amends for old times and old attitudes and behaviour helps us see how new attitudes and behaviour help us understand how to live well and keep sober. Step ten, eleven and twelve: “the keys to the kingdom” or for me, a normal hectic life extraordinary because I keep making mistakes and learning from them.

In life we make mistakes, feel the heat of them, and if we are open, honest and willing, we learn more as we go along. Not the same mistakes too many times as in the past, we make a fresh mistake if we are lucky, every day for the rest of our lives.

“miss-takes” is our natural state of living, out of misunderstanding we learn, when we miss the point we ask, if we feel pain, we need examine why. Step ten, the spot inventory, reveals most often what has happened, more is revealed, gratitude for knowing and responding becomes our daily life.

AA Daily Reflections ~ "love without strings...Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. [Big book]

Sponsorship held two surprises for me. First that my sponsees cared about me. What I had thought was gratitude was more like love. they wanted me to be happy, to grow and remain sober. Knowing how they felt kept me from drinking more than once. Second, I discovered that I was able to love someone else responsibly, with respectful and genuine concern for that person’s growth. Before that time, I had thought that my ability to care sincerely about another’s well – being had atrophied from lack of use. To learn that I can love, without greed or anxiety, has been one of the deepest gifts the program has given me. Gratitude for that gift has kept me sober many times."
September 27 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Prolonged denial is horrible, like living without purpose. What is important is to know why we are in denial once we know it. Denial is a really important part of grieving towards acceptance and cherishing people. Every emotion has its place in our lives...

Sometimes too strong, toughing things out can be a real issue for me when it comes to health issues, emotional or and physical. Explanations and never having consistent help means going over the same old same old. In recovery immediate feedback helps me immensely to keep matters in the here and now. Waiting for help is simply unhelpful when we have to wait on professionals often overloaded and so unavailable...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

September 27 2010 ~ I am responsible... this is a part of our "living amend" to ourselves and others in step nine. We let go our old ways as we learn new attitudes and behaviour. We take account of our impact on others, we assume less and involve others in decision making... First we need build trust with others by our actions today...

September 27 2010 ~ service and esteem... unity service and recovery are key. Like all elements of recovery life, we can experience highs and lows in our endeavours. Service daily in any capacity improves our esteem. We take care that service is always without expectation, helps keep us on track, sober and resonsible today

A step nine dilemma… My living amend to myself is to say no to anything assumed which compromises my choices without fair consultation, in advance of decisions already taken. I hope this is a right action, may be a test of my personal resolve and esteem. I know what is fair in my own mind, and what is fair for me to ask of others…

Recovery life is not all sweetness and light, if we are going to be able to live a full life, there are times when our old people pleasing behaviour can lead us into resentments against ourselves. People sometimes expect just a yes, when we need say no emphatically, or we build resentments upon resentments.

If we are asked to do something, to be included and to be able to say yes, because it is a good thing to do, helps us and helps another, a work or social occasion, then we can be optimistic and participate. Because we have a good option and say yes.

There are times when we suddenly see an expectation, and we have not been consulted, and we know it’s not going to be good for us and we may let down another person and we wonder what the next right action to take. It may seem obvious, say no for all the right reasons. I do not feel obliged, given the current circumstances. It was a request beyond friendship, it was an unreasonable request. It offers no benefit whatsoever. It would be done to please another where there is no reciprocity. In other words; no give and take and no balance and expectations beyond fair and equitable to all concerned.

Saying no, means no, as Ghandi said paraphrased, “an emphatic no is better than a half-hearted yes.”

Sometimes it is not easy, sometimes difficult, sometimes, it hurts to say no, yet the no is less hurtful long term to oneself and to others. Who wants to live resentfully having again sucked it up? Not me today.


AA Daily Reflections ~ "without reservation... When brimming with gratitude, one’s heartbeat must surely result in outgoing love [As Bill sees it]

While practicing service to others, if my successes give rise to grandiosity, I must reflect on what brought me to this point. What has been given joyfully, with love, must be passed on without reservation and without expectation. For as I grow, I find that no matter how much I give with love, I receive much more in spirit."
September 26 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

War stories... And or drinking stories? And our life story: When I first found myself able to sit in fellowship meetings, listening and judging to what I heard, the more bizarre the better I felt. A lot of tall stories told, for good measure. I worked on my story and made it a thorough horror story. Then I heard my story, stopped trying for the best story ever told, and listened for what worked in sobriety one day at a time...

Real life, learning how to be included and know where I fit No longer a desperate struggle to find my place in society, simply happy in the company I keep inside and outside fellowship. Always in the journey, the conversations in life with friends and family, strangers we meet, words shared and wisdom of life. From long associations to brief encounters there is always something new, even when we still don't know what we are looking for...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

If you had told me I could cope with life, death and taxes without taking a drink, I would have thought you mad. Everyone drank, everyone still drank was what I had come to believe. Today in recovery I see life with more clarity, moment to moment, can cope and feel and express myself more truthfully. I am willing today...

We feel everything in recovery; early days we boil in a cauldron of emotions, all of them usually at extremes. We erupt inside and we have fellowship to express our highs and lows. With time and expression, feelings cool down from bottled up years to day size, up and down as life happens, right sized just for today...

No one was ever able to tell me what the promises were. Are these extravagant promises? We think not… The promises in the big book of AA, a collection of true life accounts in recovery from alcoholism. How to live life in recovery: and what how to live and practice the principles and suggestions of the twelve steps and traditions. No person is perfect; we are all subject to life’s ups and downs. We are making progress just for today…

I was part of a meeting the other day, where we shared about the promises in step nine. Step nine is the focus of our daily reflections book for September. I like and enjoy reading about the twelve steps and traditions, to gain a better perspective as they are lived by me, never perfect and not wanting to be perfect. If we are perfect, then we have no room for growth. I feel we are imperfectly perfect, we have the right ingredients to live, and nature and providence take care of the rest. We are all part of creation, creating in our own part as we may in the scheme of…

Promises in my early days, get to meetings, listen and listen some more. And these promises, what on earth were they? I had no clue, a promise of a better life. I lost the lot on the way to rock bottom, and then stayed a long time, drowning in dreams of revenge and torment, self-harm run riot and a mind filled with distortions and alibis. Fact, I was lost doing the wrong things for the right reasons most of my adult life. Fact, today I do more of what is right for me for the right reasons.

Wrong things would be: for me chasing the next best experience, people places and things. Right job, right girl right home, right holiday, and right fun, very righteous and very materialistic as rock bottom proved. And everything lost, empty, riven and excoriated, in a black desolate fugue.

Today what is right for me? To live sober, be open and honest, willing to put in the right actions. To be able tolerate and love everyone including me. Tolerate and love, know we are all making our way as best we can, not judge others and simply judge my willingness to learn what is good for me in living. I can decide what is right for me in good conscience, say yes appropriately and no appropriately in living today.

No one was ever able to tell me what the promises were. I guess the promises are what they are for each and every one who lives in recovery. For me, an end to self-harm, self-obsession, materialism and valuing me and others by their status and material gain, although I might have denied such a way to measure in olden days, it was etched into me by experience.

Life on life’s terms, sober and alive. Able to deal with: success on an emotional and spiritual basis, and similarly be able to deal with setbacks. I have one day to live, today. I can feel life, be more open and honest, be myself and learn the value of life, not my life, all life.

A fellowship, to help us experience emotional and spiritual, to be okay physically and do what we need do today. Needs met, our wants forgotten? In all the best stories we find serenity when it can be, progress when it cannot and even then there is serenity in adversity. We learn what we can do and cannot do, and daily see the difference. Enthusiasm for what is today, progress in acceptance, in the ever present, present moment of now.

AA Daily Reflections ~ "our children, friends and family... the alcoholic may find it hard to re-establish friendly relations with his children. . . . In time they will see that he is a new man and in their own way they will let him know it. From that point on, progress will be rapid. Marvellous results often follow such a reunion. [Big book]

While on the road to recovery I received a gift that could not be purchased. It was a card from my son in college, saying, “Dad, you can’t imagine how glad I am that everything is okay. Happy Birthday, I love you.” My son had told me that he loved me before. It had been during the previous Christmas holidays, when he had said to me, while crying, “Dad, I love you! Can’t you see what you’re doing to yourself?” I couldn’t. Choked with emotion, I had cried, but this time, when I received my son’s card, my tears were tears of joy, not desperation."
September 25 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Emotional and spiritual?: Feelings in the moment of now ~ used to be beyond me. A fellowship based on emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Someone apologised for their atheist outlook recently. I don't connect spiritual with religion, many do and that is really okay and not for me to judge. In fellowship our primary purpose is sober, contingent on our spiritual condition today. Sober our similarity, everyone happily unique and different. Everything is spiritual in the present moment, the quality of the experience, a personal journey day by day...

I hear my story in the rooms of AA, how I got to be an alcoholic, my feelings about me and life. And what is happening day by day for me and many others living a sober life. And with freedom to make choices, based on real opportunities rather than fantasies. I still dream and imagine, feel inspired by good fortune. I take my knocks and deal with them and find peace and serenity when it is happening now. Everything changes and I see it day by day...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

My daily maintenance - From old friends and other times (Rosemary and Philip) I ask some basics of me. When I wake up, how am I feeling, why do I feel this way and what can I do about it? Three simple questions give me a surprise every day.

If I know how I feel when I get up, why I feel this way, and what can I do to keep it that way or change how I feel. Well this is good to do, it takes practice daily to understand what my feelings are. Simply because we are told we must never show some of our feelings, which some consider bad or unhelpful.

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.

For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgement, or assistance!

The key to my serenity is acceptance. But "acceptance" does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it... and I have to accept that fact.

AA Daily Reflections ~ "September 25 First things first... Some of us have taken very hard knocks to learn this truth: Job or no job — wife or no wife — we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. [Big book]

Before coming to A.A., I always had excuses for taking a drink: “She said . . . , ” “He said . . . ,” “I got fired yesterday,” “I got a great job today.” No area of my life could be good if I drank again. In sobriety my life gets better each day. I must always remember not to drink, to trust God, and to stay active in A.A. Am I putting anything before my sobriety, God, and A.A. today?"

Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-Living" "Service"
September 24 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

It is a strange feeling, for years my intellect informed me how much I understood the diagnosis of anxiety and depression, kept on wearing my brave face and was lost in self-analysis for a long time. I am me with multi diagnosis conditions. Accepting me as me helped a great deal, without measures and without needing to be self-combative or self-critical and then no self-justification...

And now I know I cannot control my feelings, I can ask myself "how am I feeling" "why" and "what to do." Whatever my feelings are, I can then deal with today as it is, not as I imagine it is supposed to be, or how I am supposed to be today. And there are good, bad and indifferent days. This morning I felt great physical pain, and emotional feelings? Pacing myself physically, so I don't push myself into frustration and a downward spiral. Powerless over "black dog," try for inclusion as the cycle moves along and can then find inclusion with people as and when...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Vigilance and hope in recovery becomes second nature as we practice the steps and traditions in our living today. We do not fear alcohol; we do not seek it out. Experience in our fellowship where every day a newcomer reminds us of our old past times, sober we feel everything, faith and courage develop and we have esteem living in this one day, today
“Lest we forget:” a favourite group for me in recovery fellowship. Denial is always close to hand, at the same time the good old days of drinking are less of a memory, and the bad old days of alcoholism are etched deep into my psyche. The odd nightmare serves and keeps me vigilant as I live reality, spiritually and with feeling today...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Vigilance... we have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” Commencing to drink after a period of sobriety, we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, or any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to alcohol. [Big book]

Today I am an alcoholic. Tomorrow will be no different. My alcoholism lives within me now and forever. I must never forget what I am. Alcohol will surely kill me if I fail to recognize and acknowledge my disease on a daily basis. I am not playing a game in which a loss is a temporary setback. I am dealing with my disease, for which there is no cure, only daily acceptance and vigilance."
September 23 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Denial of the obvious can be very difficult to accept. At my worst, stuck in the malady of addiction my behaviour was the best it could be. And the same applies for all human behaviour in the moment. When I feel the hurt and see the hurt inflicted by others, it is horrible to experience. Even on the worst of their days, it is the best they can be at that time and place. I can change my outlook, attitudes and behaviour, powerless over theirs. Forgive, let go, and move on whenever possible today...

The phrase "where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise." To feel betrayed and let down by those we love is difficult and extremely painful. If I do not know, I am safe from pain and love prevails in blissful ignorance. Knowing the truth and dealing with the consequences, wisdom and experience teaches. My higher power embodies "truth, love and wisdom." A return to reality is both a "rude and spiritual awakening." Less denial, less ignorance, more bliss in the moment of now...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Exceptions to the rule: If we alcoholics feel a certain way right now, taking a drink may change the feeling we have, and it may take the edge off the feeling or make it more pronounced. There are no exceptions to this rule; drink changes our perception of reality. To live real life, we stop self-harm and stop harming others just for a day at a time...

Every single day even when we are at our worst, in that moment I am doing the best I can with what has happened and what I can do. So at their worst other people are doing their best right now. How we react? Or better how we respond says more about us than it does about them. As others harm themselves we need not today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "I was an exception... He [Bill W.] said to me, gently and simply, “Do you think that you are one of us?”[Big book]

During my drinking life I was convinced I was an exception. I thought I was beyond petty requirements and had the right to be excused. I never realized that the dark counterbalance of my attitude was the constant feeling that I did not “belong.” At first, in A.A., I identified with others only as an alcoholic. What a wonderful awakening for me it has been to realize that, if human beings were doing the best they could, then so was I! All of the pains, confusions and joys they feel are not exceptional, but part of my life, just as much as anybody’s"
September 22 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

How am I feeling, why and what to do... When I ask myself how am I feeling, whatever the emotion I then know what is influencing my thinking. If I feel happy joyous and free, my thinking is optimistic. If I feel fearful, the need to pretend to be okay and some guilt and shame, then my thinking will be more pessimistic today. Step six when I feel fear inhibits me somewhat. Step seven with faith and courage, I feel everything will be okay no matter what happens today... feel right and think right today?

At sixes and sevens: meaning a state of total confusion and disorder, or of disagreement between parties. Interesting that this old phrase fits with the steps, step six and step seven. We do need enough fear to be careful, we do need enough faith to keep on going in times of uncertainty. Enough doubt to keep sharp, enough confidence to see us through the unknown. We can be at sixes and sevens with ourselves as well as everyone around us...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

A resolve to end old thinking patterns and old behaviour is encompassed in step nine as we make amends. Daily we live the steps, in six letting go old fears, brave facing and brittle ego, in seven developing our courage faith and esteem and the possible today. Each day is new, gratitude lists and step tens help us live truth and hope today

Like a gaunt prospector in olden days... desperate and lost, digging deeper and deeper into despair a drink in hand and lost to humanity. Today, less guant, more alive, more maladies with age and happier in this moment than I have ever been, even life is harsh and can be desolate, today there is always truth and hope as it may be...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "A limitless lode... like a gaunt prospector, belt drawn in over the last ounce of food, our pick struck gold. Joy at our release from a lifetime of frustration knew no bounds. Father feels he has struck something better than gold. For a time he may try to hug the new treasure to himself. He may not see at once that he has barely scratched a limitless lode which will pay dividends only if he mines it for the rest of his life and insist on giving away the entire product. Alcoholics Anonymous Pages 128 & 129

When I talk with a newcomer to A.A., my past looks me straight in the face. I see the pain in those hopeful eyes, I extend my hand, and then the miracle happens: I become healed. My problems vanish as I reach out to this trembling soul."

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

September 21 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly with 12 steps and 12 traditions a fellowship has grown up. As the fellowship grows, experience strength and hope develops more wisdom and more similarities. Staying sober and helping others starts at day one in our fellowship. From unwilling, closed down and deluded, to open willing and honest a day at a time. Feelings fitting the moment of now, freedom to choose sober today...

Living reality can be a bit of a shock to the system. Old habits are difficult to shift when we see the pay off, from pleasure to oblivion. New routines and habits, a ritual of self-preservation, living to the good of life, deeper, broader and wider experiences of life are possible. Our emotional and spiritual state: contingent on being able to ask for help and develop our freedom in recovery. Always real, spiritual is living in the moment of now for me...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Due care and attention is needed to expectations, promises and fantasies which can take us out of the moment of now. Expectations, promises and fantasy offer hope for the future, and these simply can be beyond reality. A phrase often used is “beyond our wildest dreams.” Don’t get me wrong, any outlook in moderation can help us make plans based on realisable choices we have today. At the same time, when the choices in life change, we need be aware of how we may change to suit what is possible and what is not possible.

One day at a time, I promise you, life can be lived and we can accomplish much of what is needed. And sometimes we get a few of our desires covered too, because we put in the footwork. When we wait for change, nothing much changes, except we become a day older. And sometimes we do have to wait on other elements in our lives, people, places and things.

We are complicated beings. We think a lot or not enough, and we are full of feelings all the time, when they are based on the here and now, we usually find the truth of what is going on. When we don’t know why we feel up or down, it is worth time to reflect, meditate on what is working and what is not working.

Limbo, where we have uncertainties is often a state of mind which troubles us; we do not know the answer immediately. Old behaviour is to sit and chew on why, without help, new behaviour is to share the feelings of limbo with another and see if another’s wisdom may be helpful.

One of the best promises in recovery is I can share what is happening to me, there may be no immediate answer and the feelings of desolation can roll on a while, I can feel alone and beleaguered, and it is okay to feel this way. We learn isolation may not work, and we learn solitude may work as we sit still and recharge our energies to find the solutions to our problems today.

A promise learned by me, the more I understand the possible, the truth of now, the more connected to others, that is loved and loving people back, I am open to the wisdom of people and life as it manifests. Needs met on a daily basis, wants fade away. Progress is not perfect or it is simply because we find our pace of progress; it can be joyful or sad as life offers. The only guarantee, life keeps on happening until we expire, hopefully not today!

I promise you... a promise can be resentment under construction, same as an expectation. Sober, if you ask me to help you, I will try if I have the ability to do so. If I do not know how to help, I say no. Yes to what we can do, no to what we cannot do and we develop the wisdom to know the difference daily. Progress not perfect in sobriety today...

Routines are good for our wellbeing, spiritual, emotional and physical. Our key is progress not perfection, once we have reached "dry land." The more we function in the moment, not chewing on history or fantasising about the future, we can improve our connection to reality, feel life and be fit for purpose, gradually and carefully today...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "The last promise... we will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. [Big book]

The last promise in the Big Book came true for me on the very first day of sobriety. God kept me sober that day, and on every other day I allowed Him to operate in my life. He gives me the strength, courage and guidance to meet my responsibilities in life so that I am then able to reach out and help others stay sober and grow. He manifests within me, making me a channel of His word, thought and deed. He works with my inner self, while I produce in the outer world, for He will not do for me what I can do for myself. I must be willing to do His work, so that He can function through me successfully."

September 20 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

A right relationship with the Universe and knowing we all have a right to be here. Included, intertwined and always connected in the moment of now. For me it is not about control or having power over people, places and things or judging anything as right or wrong, good or bad. Living in the moment helps me see how I fit into the big picture and make the best choices open to me today. Freedom to choose life on life's terms...

Our path and journey in life is influenced by where we are, location, the opportunities open to us in this moment in time. No longer stuck by old thinking, old ways of behaving and letting go secrets which can keep me stuck. Open, honest and willing, I look outwards to opportunity, just for today asking for help rather than working it on my own and limited to one perception... Always the journey, the destination less obvious today...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

A higher power of our own understanding; beyond thinking and feeling as we come to understand he she or it. Good conscience, courage and faith are elements of living we develop in recovery as the days of self-harm and harm to others slows and ends. A regular pattern of living in the day, being immersed in the moment of now becomes more than a feeling. In the day we feel reality, a spiritual “now”.

More than a feeling “So many people have come and gone, their faces fade as the years go by, yet I still recall as I wander on, as clear as the sun in the summer sky” Boston.

Recovery in fellowship is a connection to many who follow a simple path we humans can make so complicated, as we review the past and spend much time pondering our future prospects. Without doubt, we cannot forecast tomorrow beyond realistic expectations. We talk of expectations being resentment under construction, at the same time, today’s choices embrace reality and make possible future plans, we do take steps towards serenity and acceptance. Serenity and acceptance are not placid states; they are states of richness and space for growth.

Our own perception of a higher power can be very difficult. I have seen that I can be completely immune to the concept of powers greater than me; life gives us opportunity to ask ourselves what a higher power may be. The power of love, living with truth, and accepting we can learn from and through others experiences.

Life teaches us to be believers, agnostics and atheists. And my life has proven I can believe in god, be uncertain and be agnostic and when life really gets tough have no belief in god. When life is most difficult, I need help and I am more likely to ask for help these days rather than put on a brave face, hide my fear and ego creeps into my actions. The harder life is the more likely I try to be godlike in my behaviour, I need and want control. Alcohol provided oblivion from my failures and my triumphs alike at the end of my drinking days.

A power greater than me in troubled times is certainly not me. When fear creeps and life feels awful, reliance on my inner resources can be very unhelpful. In fellowship and being a part of fellowship means I need never rely wholly on me. I have come to rely on truth I learn the wisdom of others and understand that people can be loving towards us in adversity. People in fellowship are more likely to help us.

So in my understanding today, god is truth, love and wisdom shared. I live on a planet subject to natural forces and can take my luck as it comes, some call this providence. A higher power is of nature and providence, and does not favour me over any other. At the same time with truth love and wisdom of others in my life, outcomes can be broader and beyond my simple outlook.

Higher powers? Yes of course there are higher powers, they are all around us in our daily life and it certainly is more than a feeling today…

A right relationship with the world: so providence and nature can be favourable as it can be. Good conscience is always available to us in recovery and still we know the darker side of us can lurk any day when self-will and self-obsession make us isolate our thinking and we become unfeeling to our fellows. Choices always today...

Faith works, and is more than a feeling “So many people have come and gone, their faces fade as the years go by, yet I still recall as I wander on, as clear as the sun in the summer sky” Boston. Higher power for me today; guided by good conscience, courage and faith, truth, love and wisdom learned from others, choices in recovery...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "Higher Power as a guide... See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. [Big book]
Having a right relationship with God seemed to be an impossible order. My chaotic past had left me filled with guilt and remorse and I wondered how this “God business” could work. A.A. told me that I must turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him. With nowhere else to turn, I went down on my knees and cried, “God, I can’t do this. Please help me!” It was when I admitted my powerlessness that a glimmer of light began to touch my soul, and then willingness began to emerge to let God control my life. With Him as my guide, great events began to happen, and I found the beginning of sobriety."
September 19 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

I need to accept my emotional, spiritual and physical condition. Feelings are good, I got to a meeting last night and listened to many sharing their truth. Spiritual always based on the truth of now starting with my feelings which impact on how I think from moment to moment. Physical condition not so good, aggravated slipped discs and trapped nerve in back. Can feel right in my head, take account of not being so mobile for today. Can do, cannot do, wisdom to know the difference.

Contingent on my spiritual condition, dealing with the truth of my situation I am free to make the best choices. When I am unsure, I ask myself what advice I would give another with similar opportunities today. Then I check my suggestions with others dependent on the issues and options. Letting go of knowing the right answer and checking with people who know, asking for help and advice I am more likely to accept what I may do today...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Nature and Providence… Some talk about saving the planet, all manner of organisations to save our world, and we all have become more aware of our carbon footprint. Do we have power at all? Somehow it can feel futile, a bit like King Canute and his court at the sea side. “Well, my friends," Canute said, "it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps you have learned something today. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is he who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of his hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for him." The royal officers and courtiers hung their heads and looked foolish. And some say Canute took off his crown soon afterward, and never wore it again.

Planet earth part of nature, providence, as life is not as we might wish it so. We do have choices today, personal and as a society over many aspects of human doings.

Powerless over alcohol, people places and things feels like letting go the need to try control the impossible. Yet even the sober in this world are still driven to believe they have control. Mostly it is an illusion of their choosing.

Acceptance of life as it is, truth, love and wisdom seem to flow more positively, rather than trying to hold back the tide of denial we humans need from time to time. Denial a necessary buffer against our reality when reality is too shocking to comprehend, namely powerlessness over an outcome we do not want need or like. Death and taxes are two favourites.

Losing an old life of drinking and what may have been perceived as happiness to history, gaining a new life causes grief and denial. We all have grief, we can deny and cover up and then we find the issues just keep piling up.

Fellowship, twelve steps and twelve traditions actually offer freedom from the past, an end to a mountain of denials and opportunity let denial work for us on a daily basis. When we get those “I cannot believe it” moments in recovery, we recognise sooner rather than later what is going on for us. Hard times, where we barely cover our needs, becoming easier to accept when we realise we still have a life to live. Accepting good times can be equally hard as shame and guilt for past mistakes can pollute our outlook today.

In step nine, the promises can be quite obscure as we live the steps and learn about ourselves. As we realise old ways need change and we mend our ways of living, there is a promise of a brighter outlook. And it means we need change our ways, to open honest living. Working with the truth of our situation as it is and what choices we have. For the promise comes true daily as I live to truth as much as I can and hold to an outlook and way of living which fits with life as it is today.

With my daily needs covered as best they can be, my wants tend to fade. Reality can be difficult; we need not make it worse with denial. Acceptance is the key always…

Acceptance, reality of recovery... a meeting recently, a man sits nearby, relapsed three days ago, grim and fearful, another one year sober and astonished, opposite me another two decades sober accepting all life has thrown at them. And another, saved my life years ago, sober we cherish and accept life today...

Life on life's terms, spiritual acceptance is difficult. Sobriety offers the gift of spiritual living, which is living in the moment of now. Open, honest and willing we come to accept sadness and joy, that we feel everything in the moment with more clarity as we make progress, our choices are imperfectly perfect today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "acceptance... We admitted we couldn’t lick alcohol with our own remaining resources, and so we accepted the further fact that dependence upon a Higher Power (if only our A.A. group ) could do this hitherto impossible job. The moment we were able to accept these facts fully, our release from the alcohol compulsion had begun. [As Bill sees it]

Freedom came to me only when my acceptance that I could turn my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power, whom I call God. Serenity seeped into the chaos of my life when I accepted that what I was going through was life, and that God would help me through my difficulties – and much more, as well. Since then He has helped me through all of my difficulties! When I accept situations as they are, not as I wish them to be, then I can begin to grow and have serenity and peace of mind."

"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. "
September 18 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Sun is out, more rain due, it’s fresh out there. All good, improves that uneasy feeling of not quite sure what is going on, a step ten due to an outburst of justifiable anger with right on my side, it felt good at the time, progress not perfection, being happy rather than right is the answer for me today…

Two meetings yesterday and listening to friends many years sober. Newcomers in the rooms, step one always emphasised and all the steps and all the traditions, I simply feel right sized, my feelings fit reality, the real spiritual experience, coping with real life now and today... tomorrow I begin again

DonInLondon 2005-2010

To love, be loved and useful… basic ingredients to survival and a life worth living. Obvious and necessary we often overlook the measures we might deploy to make a reckoning of our own situation. To cherish life always, our own and everyone we encounter. So often our outlook is superficial and indifferent to others, we end up treating ourselves with superficiality and indifference and so life becomes a materialistic calculation and manipulation.

We judge our success by what we achieve in the material world, power, money, possessions, then worse, by looks and clothes, by fame and infamy. We get to like bad and edgy in ourselves and others. We judge value in terms of excess, our own and our ability to be better than our rivals in life.

By the time I got to rock bottom, all self-worth and self-esteem had been lost in addiction to people, places and things, and awash in an alcoholic mind. Pickled and deranged. Love was a concept obsessive and misunderstood. All remnants of spiritual understanding were merely a blurred memory. Physically bankrupt.

When the daily reflections for today suggested we can be loved back to recovery, in my early days it was still a promise to be delivered. My intellect and thinking resisted any outside force or influence could help me. And yet I needed a glimpse of something to make life worthwhile again or what was the point and what is the point?

Fellowship, a bunch of people driven mad by drink; some still drunk, some years and decades sober, all in the same day, same place and same situation, looking for sanctuary and respite. Without help lost in oblivion. We learned to help ourselves and stay sober one day at a time. Feelings return, so raw we felt suicidal at the prospect of living and homicidal for the wrongs done to us, imagined or real.

And as time goes by, our feelings are real, and we make sense of them, the why and how, and we gain perspective, suicide and homicide are not options anymore. We start to value life, our own and all life. Most of us do.
We learn again to love, be loved and useful. Feel life in the moment where spiritual is now. We have high points and low points, we endeavour through good times and adversity. We get to be human and everything it entails. Love is everything, and recovery offers us a lifetime in this one day, whatever it may be, real and sober to be cherished always…

Fellowship and friendship, all about being selfless and self-aware. Twelve steps and traditions, always suggestions and never edicts. Love emerges from deep inside, often not recognised until we have been sober a while. Love heals us in recovery, sometimes slowly sometimes quickly, our world becomes sharper, clearer as we feel and live life today...

Loved back to recovery... what is love? Emotional and spiritual? Love is a feeling we pushed down deep and spiritual love, always in the moment, always infinite. Feelings return in recovery, as self-will and self-obsession diminish, we start to feel life in the raw. Raw heals and we recognise our true nature, to love, be loved and useful today...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "loved back to recovery... Our whole treasured philosophy of self-sufficiency had to be cast aside. This had not been done with old-fashioned willpower; it was instead a matter of developing the willingness to accept these new facts of living. We neither ran nor fought. But accept we did. And then we were free. [Grapevine]

I can be free of my old enslaving self. After a while I recognize, and believe in, the good within myself. I see that I have been loved back to recovery by my Higher Power, who envelops me. My Higher Power becomes that source of love and strength that is performing a continuing miracle in me. I am sober... and I am grateful."
September 17 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

I cannot describe or define God, Nature, Providence or your Higher Power. And this is good news for me. My higher power is always now, available now, with elements of truth, love and wisdom. Truth, not my opinion or belief. Love, how to love and be loved. Wisdom, from others and wisdom learned from experience. Enough fear and a brave face when needed, more courage and faith when I don't know, someone else probably does today...

Covering up will keep me stuck in old ways, feeling guilty, inadequate and shamed when I do not know the answers most people seem to have. I am mightily pleased when I don't know today, it means I do not try to impress or fake it to fit in. Not knowing has proved to be my salvation, especially when I share and say so. The humility to keep learning a great asset today...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Hey! You! Get off of my cloud... just because you believe in a certain way about a higher power, and you call it God as you understand he she or ? We leave our politics and religion at the door in fellowship and concentrate on sober, remain unique and authentic in our outlook and a higher power we come to understand for ourselves today...

Freedom from fear, with a higher power today. Who's higher power? A higher power I come to understand for myself. We may call it God, we may call it good conscience and somehow it embodies truth, love and wisdom. Faith, courage and confidence to live one day, live well and in harmony as best I can, as you can with your higher power...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "Freedom from fear... When, with God’s help, we calmly accepted our lot, then we found we could live at peace with ourselves and show others who still suffered the same fears that they could get over them, too. We found that freedom from fear was more important than freedom from want. [12&12]

Material values ruled my life for many years during my active alcoholism. I believed that all of my possessions would make me happy, yet I still felt bankrupt after I obtained them. When I first came into A.A., I found out about a new way of living. As a result of learning to trust others, I began to believe in a power greater than myself. Having faith freed me from the bondage of self. As material gains were replaced by the gifts of the spirit, my life became manageable. I then chose to share my experiences with other alcoholics."

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

"Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

This step does carry a condition -- except when to do so would injure them or others. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends may not be an option. The benefit of making amends by the recovering person does not do more harm than good.

"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 Nine, AA 12 Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps AA, Addiction And Recovery, Addict, Alcoholic, Alcoholism, DonInLondon, Life Works
September 16 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

The gift of recovery, we live life real. In the past and present, tragedy fuels and grief prefers oblivion... Now tragedy is lived, grief is a part of life. I don't want oblivion. Today I feel right, feelings fit the experience of now. Emotional and spiritual wellbeing promised and delivered, and just for today I feel happy...

"Life will mean something at last," for me it is not the meaning of life. It is the ability to live life, not think it and then try living what I think. Living life, my feelings are growing, broadening and deepening with every experience that comes my way. Opportunity knocks and I answer the door, with courage and faith, or fear and a brave face as life is and I am. Sober, courage and faith help me deal with reality, and just enough fear today...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Our old unthinking behaviour can trip us up many a time in recovery. This is why the twelve steps and twelve traditions help us find where old behaviour surfaces. My father, he used to disappear for days at a time. He was always somewhere else and when it counted most, often he was unavailable and unreachable, “pot less and penniless”. Although we never knew what his malady was at the time, I know I have this malady or allergy, alcoholism. Our lives are shaped by happenstance when we are young and we learn how to behave, and we learn attitudes. Still we remain ignorant of our personal traits and behaviour, because that was what we learned and what we did. There is no blame in where we come from, simply the twelve steps and traditions help us see clearly how we were and in recovery how we can be.

Today, I realise I have left replies to a couple of emails which deserve answers. I deleted one because I had no answer, and have kept one because I need reflect on how to answer. In both instances, I have left the senders waiting and waiting. Procrastination, and uncertainty and a lot of sensitivity to a friend in one case and an ex-partner in another are part of it. Why? I don’t know the answers and have not reached any idea on my own and help needed to make a decision about my replies. The answer came in my writing this morning. Do not procrastinate and dither, make a choice and make choices to include them in any decisions about next steps. Life is difficult enough and we need not let people hang waiting for us to think our way through to the right answer.

Empathy is about living together, making choices together and not final decisions which impact and offer no choice to those who are part of our lives. Step nine teaches me about amends I can make and those past harms done need not be opened up for more harm to me or them. We find guidance in our living the steps in recovery. We are never alone when we need help to make choices to the good by inclusion and not exclusion as we live today.

Our careless and unthinking old behaviour, our world still revolves around us. When we ask ourselves "how am I feeling, why and what can I do?" helps us be assertive in recovery. And as we realise we are interdependent we ask "how are they feeling, why and what is my role and responsibility in their lives?"

Fellowship is for mutual survival. Old unthinking behaviour, it is all about me! As we find in life, it is actually all about us. Fellowship provides a platform to living a full life. A full life offers inclusion, choices, love and freedom. It is not about my way, it is about our way, together with empathy facing life's challenges today...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "we stand or fall together... no society of men and women ever had a more urgent need for continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. We alcoholics see that we must work together and hang together; else most of us will finally die alone. [Big book]

Just as the Twelve Steps of A.A. are written in a specific sequence for a reason, so it is with the Twelve Traditions. The First Step and the First Tradition attempt to instill in me enough humility to allow me a chance at survival. Together they are the basic foundation upon which the Steps and Traditions that follow are built. It is a process of ego deflation which allows me to grow as an individual through the Steps, and as a contributing member of a group through the Traditions. Full acceptance of the First Tradition allows me to set aside personal ambitions, fears, and anger when they are in conflict with the common good, thus permitting me to work with others for our mutual survival. Without Tradition One I stand little chance of maintaining the unity required to work with others effectively, and I also stand to lose the remaining Traditions, the Fellowship, and my life."
September 15 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

How am I feeling this morning? Calm, pain free emotionally and physically. Right now in the moment "this moment is where spiritual happens," my feelings fit with now. No history bludgeoning, or future concerns pulling me into fantasy. Life on life's terms. Able to love, be loved and useful, routines and meditation. Steps 1 2 3, "I am responsible" and serenity prayer, steps 10 11 12, just for today...

A request for help may come in fellowship. We might not get the message immediately. So important we have many to ask for help in fellowship. Always the many who may respond in good time and us when we can? We are responsible and responsive, if we cannot another often can…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Always tomorrow, always looking for the next best something to help me make sense of my life, what a struggle for me or anyone. I share about the past because breaking with it can be the very devil. Sometimes we hear the phrase, “the devil is in the detail,” and we wonder what we may have missed. Was I missing out, had I made the right decisions, could it be different and could I improve my situation and life?

On an on striving to be perfect and never so, not only driving me bonkers, driving those around me with a restlessness that never seemed to go away. And of course we can have the fear of not being good enough. We learn some of these feelings of inadequacy early on in life, from home, school, the neighbourhood, sport, girlfriends. Or more often than not once the rot is set, from us. A moving target is more difficult to hit. And ambition driving us always to keep on going and making more efforts to fit in or the opposite not to fit in at all, rebels without causes and no purpose other than to find a cause.

Life, learning how to love, be loved and useful is something which has struck home in sobriety. Learning how to cherish people always and not be superficial and indifferent to their situation and circumstances. All good fundamental learning each and every day about how to live simply one day at a time.
Self-help and self-improvement can be a very lonely exercise for human beings geared to live and be interdependent. Another of my musings has been that most self-help literature lacks context, offers a person more power over their destiny and often unrealistic expectations. The best self-help books are full of blank pages we fill in as we go. We develop wisdom through experience and learn through action rather than understanding the theory.

Aspirations are good when they have foundations in reality and we have choices. Dreams are helpful and if we ask ourselves what we need to do to make our way forwards, and we can see it is realistic, and then we have a plan and a first step.

We never know what is round the corner, how the big picture may change radically and squash our dreams, or make a dream possible through sharing our outlook and desires.
Today and every day we can share experience, strength and hope with each other find out wisdom and learn wisdom. We are not driven to perfection; we are more likely to be living reality with every real possibility of happiness and opportunity to make choices and be free in the ever present, imperfectly perfect moment of now.

Our living amend, sober and in reality. No longer driven by self will run riot, enough self-will to make choices and be a part of the big picture. Acceptance of reality offers us a firm foundation to make plans, subject to change with agreeableness, rather than resentfulness. We are always under construction today...

A new life always lived in the moment of now. Life relished as it happens, not as it was and not as it may be in the future. With our focus on what makes life work today, we are building firm foundations for spiritual, emotional and physical well-being, sober we are best equipped to experience hardship and happiness always...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "a new life... Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous... Life will mean something at last. [Big book]

Life is better without alcohol. A.A. and the presence of a Higher Power keep me sober, but the grace of God does even better; it brings service into my life. Contact with the A.A. program teaches me a new and greater understanding of what Alcoholics Anonymous is and what it does, but most importantly, it helps to show me who I am: an alcoholic who needs the constant experience of the Alcoholics Anonymous program so that I may live a life given to me by my Higher Power."

September 14 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Peace and serenity seem to be contingent on my spiritual condition. My spiritual condition is the ability to cope with reality as it is today. I still hope, and I still see the funny in tragic. Reality does not disable me when I live it, it enables me to have freedom of choice based on life as it may be today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Peace of mind? Most people would be glad to have some peace of mind in their life. They would be happy to forget their troubles, problems and worries, and enjoy a few moments of inner calmness and freedom from obsessing thoughts. What is peace of mind? It is a state of inner calmness and tranquillity, together with a sense of freedom, when thoughts and worries cease, and there is no stress, strain or fear. Such moments are not so rare these days...

I can recall years of obsession, people places and things, especially when in love and especially with career. I would tie myself in knots, doing the right thing when the wrong situation occurred. And then, I was seeking oblivion from everything, only to wake in the night with cold sweats, any sound disturbing me, driving me to find the right answers. And always thinking it was up to me to solve the issue and conundrum. No more!

There was harm done along the way? Every time I solved the problem for another with my own view, harm might have been done. I may have thought I knew better, but really, how could I? These days life is about choices, freedom and suggestions, no edicts from knowing the right path, I learn my path daily, and with less harm done to me or others. We all have our path; it is unique and authentic to us. One similarity in recovery, sober today, everything else is different as providence and nature require, or progress is hindered rather than helped.

Peace of mind: powerless over people places and things, no more insanity, let the world help, thorough review, share truth, admit faults, find faith, list amends. Make amends and live differently, daily review, reflect and listen, live life open honest and willing, share with humility daily. Just for a moment or all day... peace

I used to be in control and give people a piece of my mind, always thought it was helpful to share? Nowadays I realise we are all learning, we can suggest, and in crisis we pull people from harm’s way. We all need freedom to understand our choices. If asked for help, I suggest if I know, interdependence is key just for today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "a new life... Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous... Life will mean something at last. [Big book]

Life is better without alcohol. A.A. and the presence of a Higher Power keep me sober, but the grace of God does even better; it brings service into my life. Contact with the A.A. program teaches me a new and greater understanding of what Alcoholics Anonymous is and what it does, but most importantly, it helps to show me who I am: an alcoholic who needs the constant experience of the Alcoholics Anonymous program so that I may live a life given to me by my Higher Power."
September 13 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Blown off course? Happens to us all. Contingent on the day I am able. An outing to the theatre, not possible. Looking out for friends possible, hoping suggestions may help were in time. Contingent on the day I ask, anything may happen. Good suggestions keep me safe today...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Mending our ways... "You ‘gotta’ mend your ways!" And of course back then, I agreed to everything with promises and never lived up to them, however sincere I was to myself and others. A fellowship and twelve steps and traditions help me every day change my attitudes and behaviour, just today...

Step nine, repairing the damage whenever possible without causing further harm in the attempt. When possible we do with humility, when we cannot, the living amend is in step ten, where we see harm done daily and rectify as we go with new attitudes and behaviour, step nine the wreckage, ten daily!

AA Daily Reflections ~ "repairing the damage... Good judgement, a careful sense of timing, courage and prudence – these are the qualities we shall need when we take Step Nine. [12&12]

To make amends can be viewed two ways: first, that of repairing damage, for if I have damaged my neighbour’s fence, I “make a mend,” and that is a direct amend; the second way is by modifying my behaviour, for if my actions have harmed someone, I make a daily effort to cause no further harm. I “mend my ways,” and that is an indirect amend. Which is the best approach? The only right approach, provided that I am causing no further harm in so doing, is to do both. If harm is done, then I simply “mend my ways.” To take action in this manner assures me of making honest amends"
Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-Living" "Service"

"Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

This step does carry a condition -- except when to do so would injure them or others. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends may not be an option. The benefit of making amends by the recovering person does not do more harm than good.
September 12 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

If I don’t always know what is right for me, how on earth would I presume I know what is right for you? We all have judgments in us, and most often best let our judgments go, or we advise and suggest with our prejudices. Not easy when we think we have the right answers today…

Monday mornings in recovery are quite a different experience. Letting go old fears, old ideas and old behaviour over the last few years has offered more freedom. Courage and faith to move on and not be trapped by “what if’s” is liberating. Real life, on life’s terms, not stuck in fantasy today…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

A little knowledge can be a dangerous, and so too can too much knowledge. Knowing is little use unless we can apply it and live life for real. For a lot of years I helped people with their personal and career issues. My life was serendipity, so many experiences and so many twists and turns. If there was something to do, I would learn and rely on wisdom of the years. And when I did not know, I usually knew someone who could and did know what to do. I loved my work for a many a year. And then, when I fell apart, the pain and fear, knowing what was wrong with me did not help one iota. And then I self-medicated to oblivion, and had nowhere to run. When I realised life could get no worse other than to die, I had that moment of clarity, and asked for help. Medical came first, I was a mess, and then found enough well-being to really understand and become part of the fellowship of AA. I became teachable, and a newcomer, a learner again.

AA taught me how to experience the path of sobriety, from pain and fear, to well-being and a connection to life I had never known before. To be in the moment and find serenity is a possibility, to find out how to deal with pain and fear. How deal with failure and success, how to feel life and live life. And freedom to choose: and to find help making choices. And learning the more I learn, the less I know. A life beyond my wildest dreams? Yes, today I experience reality, live more in the moment and can love, be loved and useful.

In recovery we do share our experience strength and hope. In meetings there is often decades of sobriety. We learn the boundaries in fellowship, we bring all our wisdom of life, and we must know when outside help is needed. Spiritual, emotional and physical well-being is always just for today...

I am responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there and for that I am responsible. I had to learn how, know the limits of my experience strength and hope, and know it is the totality of fellowship experience which counts. When I don't know, someone else does!


AA Daily Reflections ~ "I am responsible... For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well – being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of Step Nine. [12&12]
In recovery, and through the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, I learn that the very thing I fear is my freedom. It comes from my tendency to recoil from taking responsibility for anything: I deny, I ignore, I blame, I avoid. Then one day, I look, I admit, I accept. The freedom, the healing and the recovery I experience is in the looking, admitting and accepting. I learn to say, “Yes, I am responsible.” When I can speak those words with honesty and sincerity, then I am free."

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

"Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

This step does carry a condition -- except when to do so would injure them or others. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends may not be an option. The benefit of making amends by the recovering person does not do more harm than good.
September 11 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Two wrongs can make us righteous and still we may not be right. Two rights can end up being wrong. Ten years after the "twin towers" and all the awful acts in that year the consequences are still unravelling. I could see what would happen over the next few years as did many others. I am sober today; looking back at those intemperate times, there is hope locally and globally. Just for today, I need remember and cherish everyone always...

Why were others less hard working than me? I always thought I worked harder, strove harder to prove I was a worthwhile individual. Fear of not being good enough was always there in the back of my mind. And resentful when others were less hard working and what I thought was less committed. Driven to work hard and needing self-worth and always fear pushing me to deliver. I had no clue about balance in life, full steam ahead in every direction, squeeze the last drop out and be the life and soul of anything and everything. Did I have a zest for life? Hiding a great big misunderstanding about most of life and living. Which made me able to see all the faults and festering others did not really get to see in their own lives. So if I could not sort my own life, I got good helping others sort theirs. Living by proxy, feeling right by helping anyone and everyone feel right about their chosen path.

Work hard and play hard, booze hard, party hard. Happy? Hardly, as I looked for the next right action, next right work, next right relationship, on and on...

Self-development: striving all the way to the extreme of self-harm and self-destruction. Some of us many of us learned how to strive as we grew up and followed the dream. I never knew quite what the dream was... Spiritual? Yes a quick study in spiritual got that and missed the point entirely, for years and years... Emotional? Yes got that, and lived the happy side of life for years and years, and never dealt with the sad elements of life for the same number of years and more years.

When I worked myself into the ground and a breakdown to die for with a great enabler at the time, the breakdown which followed change my life forever. Two years in an anxiety state, followed by vain attempts to return to my former self, and then a habit to fill the horror my life had become, so quick I could not believe it was me, an alcoholic!

We do cross a line, from fun, to self-medicating, to habit, to alcoholic. Unpredictable, different for everyone, it depends on our spiritual, emotional and physical make up. And life experiences shaping our next precarious steps. A combination unpredictable which shifts the balance from take it or leave, to need it, want it and cannot do without it...

Balance in my life?

From all the way to the top [as far as I could go] and all the way to rock bottom, and then more rock bottoms, I persevered long in the rocks and hard places as they became familiar friends to me. Self-hate shuts out the love of anyone we may know and loves us without conditions. Self-hate, a slow or quick end to any form of worthwhile existence as providence takes us to the ultimate and untimely end.

To now... living and learning as I go along in sobriety, one day to live, and this one. Spiritual? Yes living in reality, with help and love as all humans do. Emotional? As we experience life, we feel life, and sometimes it is warm and cuddly and sometimes empty and desolate, most of the time lots of both happy and sad. Physical? Yes, but given my extreme age, some things take longer than before...
I am still making progress, at living and feeling, less judging me and others. What Next? Just for today...

Consequences, sometimes life works, some of life works, and then nothing works. In the insanity of drink back then, everyone most likely felt harm done. Amends are made to acknowledge harm done and where possible make restitution without causing further harm. A new beginning, open honest and willing...
Experiencing truth, love and wisdom of others is what our open, honest and willing outlook offers. Extremes of fear, brave facing, brittle ego was a cover in the past. Extremes of faith, courage and false confidence can be equally self-deluding. Faith without works is dead, no work no progress, we need work hard today

AA Daily Reflections ~ "making amends... above all, we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. [12&12]

To have courage, to be unafraid, are gifts of my recovery. They empower me to ask for help and to go forth in making my amends with a sense of dignity and humility. Making amends may require a certain amount of honesty that I feel I lack, yet with the help of God and the wisdom of others, I can reach within and find the strength to act. My amends may be accepted, or they may not, but after they are completed I can walk with a sense of freedom and know that, for today, I am responsible."
September 10 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Sobriety, the habit of a lifetime, just for today… Emotional sobriety; knowing how I feel about life and feelings fit my experience. Spiritual sobriety; able to cope with life right now, and seek help if needed. Physical sobriety, no longer craving a fix so my body can keep stable…

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Promises, promises... I heard this many a Friday in early recovery. "Deluded fools" I thought as I sat at the back of the Friday promises meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Talking of their years of sobriety, death, marriages, taxes, divorce, higher powers and god doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. I found it hard to listen to these mad people, full of BS and full of sanctimony. Keep coming back... brainwashing and bull. This was me and my thinking in early days. And judging "them" as they kept on saying, "keep coming back."

Yet, for all their differences to me, they never criticized me, they never said go away, they never said I was bad, just suggested I was sick and demented by drink. I thought not, but as time went along, and I kept sober, I felt better, felt less like drinking and felt they had some good points besides their obvious delusions about god and all that malarkey. And all they said was keep coming back, have a laugh, have a cry, share your anger, share your story, deal with your feelings by finding out what they are. And if you drink come back anyway.

Friday night is promises night. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly it will get better and I will have a life beyond my wildest dreams. I thought for a long time, that meant I could go back to the way I was, successful, average big shot, average big car, or small eco-friendly car to prove my point and feel right in my conscience, try find and stay with one girl, marry and live happily ever after. Those promises I could recognise and had great expectations of this happening. I would be normal, indeed I would be exceptionally normal and people would see me so. And if god did not deliver, it confirmed my suspicions; there was no god and no promises. A very limited view by me...

Ultimately as time went by, I found out what the promises are, or maybe just one promise. The promise: that I could live sober, no matter what happened to me. So far, I have got my wits back, even when romance and finance can still make me insecure. That I can have my heart broken, recover and cherish always what has been shared with me. That my bank balance can be as little as enough to cover the very basic of needs and I can still enjoy this day. That I can catch a virus, get type 1 diabetes and still live happily. That I can accept I have clinical depression, which goes through cycles of ups and downs and still make the best of darkest times knowing they may well pass eventually. That I can be useful, love people and be loved back even when accepting love back feels so hard and unusual. That I can believe in finding truth daily, love daily and learn from the wisdom of others...

Are these shabby promises? I think not, sometimes quickly, sometimes excruciatingly slowly, especially romance and finance, smiles here, they do happen when we least expect. And of course can disappear again, because that is life as it is. The best promise has been reality, the spiritual connection to now. And of god? God seems to be rolled up in truth, love and wisdom, reality, now and not tomorrow or last week, in providence as life is on life's terms and in the nature of all things...

Humility, the ultimate quality of connection and learning helps us keep learning, truth, love and wisdom and to cherish always... now that is a promise!

Sobriety is like marriage, for better or worse. Often we find life gets worse before it gets better in recovery. Why? Simply because we let go old habits and learn new ones. No matter how hard life gets as rocks and hard places happen, we learn how to deal with reality and always just for today...

Promises, over promise under deliver... Promises like expectations can lead to resentments under construction or reconstruction. I do not promise to be sober today. I live the day and can look back at what works, sober works for me day by day. Hard or easy, happy or sad, I can cherish all living and be me today...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "recovery by proxy?" They [the Promises] will always materialize if we work for them.[big book]
Sometimes I think: "Making these amends is going too far! No one should have to humble himself like that!" However, it is this very humbling of me that brings me that much closer to the sunlight of the spirit. A.A. is the only hope I have if I am to continue healing and gain a life of happiness, friendship and harmony."
September 9 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

We live in the moment, no getting away with this truth. Our whole history manifests in how we experience today. We do not forget, memory helps us to experience life on life's terms, reality not fantasy. And yet fantasy and dreams inspire and motivate us to live. Grief comes and goes, deepens every emotion and we evolve as human beings. Love, be loved and useful? Yes we can, each and every day... cherish always

The fourth dimension is time. Being rocketed into the fourth dimension, to the here and now may imply we let go of being stuck in old ways, old habits and experiences relived over and over in our minds. The usefulness of any vessel is in its emptiness means as we let go, we make room for the new. We do not shut the door on the past, a life story reminds us always of what we can and cannot do today, and the wisdom to know the difference...

DonInLondon 2005-2010

Save me from myself! I want to be right and happy. And in the past I thought everyone wanted to be right and happy. A lot of time spent finding out the right path, the right answers and getting everyone to go along with my plans? Or was this self-righteousness, being right about everything and then imposing my views on every situation. Rarely did it make others happy. And then a loss of direction, thrown this way and that, awash and then beached over and over again. Hard economics made me work at many things which were not always of my choosing. An underlying fear of being found out and not up to scratch, always made me strive hard for success and approval in every element of living. Our cultures are riddled with manipulations in the world of work, business and these ways hit our personal lives too. Success in the modern world is built on being driven and with each achievement comes another reward. Success for me led to excess, always trying to be the best at everything, right and happy. The result, I might have been right some of the time, happy some of the time and never sure all of the time.

In recovery we realise there is a different way to live and be happy. Happiness and serenity today, the elements change as life changes. And then dealing with every difficult situation is unique to each person on the planet. And of course the similarities we have help us understand the possible and the impossible. After decades of success, financial and material, rock bottom was painful because I had no clue I was at rock bottom or why the world felt desolate, empty and meaningless. Bleak and dark, black followed by fear, anxiety without respite for two years and then depression set in. And it got worse back then... and could do again…

My old attitudes, my old behaviour, trusted ways to be successful right and happy became nightmares as each step taken towards being my old self, crushed me inside. Drink, alcohol was my trusted friend, oblivion my sanctuary and my prison. I was fortunate to have been revived to live long enough to be happy when happy is possible, to be sad as sad experiences happen and find out what is good for me today.

My new attitudes are not about being right or happy or knowing the answer today. Simply life is about love and usefulness. To love, be loved back and have something useful to do. What helps me each day is truth, love and wisdom of others. And of course we learn about lies, hate and the inexperience of others, we need not join in with those outlooks. We can say no to our old behaviour and old attitudes, and when we encounter old attitudes and behaviour in others, simply we need not join in, we make better choices in the moment, sooner rather than later, it is part of being sober today.

Cherish always...

Breaking the habits of a lifetime: sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Yes, yes and yes again... So easy to say yes because people feel good when we say yes. And I now realise I can say no. An emphatic no is better than a half-hearted yes. More often than not, an emphatic courteous NO to some people and places keeps me sober today...

Stability for today; it is so easy to be knocked off balance in real life situations. Every day we hit the ground running and sometimes life gives us bruises as we encounter "rocks and hard places." Even when situations can be hurtful, I can share the experience, express my feelings, learn wisdom, hear and listen in fellowship and be more human every day...
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Opening new doors...They [the Promises] are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. [Big book]

The Promises talked about in this passage are slowly coming to life for me. What has given me hope is putting Step Nine into action. The Step has allowed me to see and set goals for myself in recovery. Old habits and behaviours die hard. Working Step Nine enables me to close the door on the drunk I was, and to open new avenues for myself as a sober alcoholic. Making direct amends is crucial for me. As I repair relationships and behaviour of the past, I am better able to live a sober life! Although I have some years of sobriety, there are times when the “old stuff” from the past needs to be taken care of, and Step Nine always works, when I work it."
September 8 | AA 12 Steps In Action |

Today, life is beautiful! It is quite dark out, early morning, cloudy and early commuters buzzing about. Days like these sent shivers through me in times past, 6:00AM at the health club, work for 8:00 AM and home late evening. Drink to oblivion, pass out. Day after day... Now sober, each day is different. I can say yes, and I can say no. Today fear is less; no brave face and no ego. Enough courage, faith and confidence to be me for today...

This day last year: a lot of anxiety fuelling fear, anger and resentment. I felt isolated and alone with no help. It made me feel very unwell. And when I look back it was me trying to do it all alone and not asking the right people for help. Just because was right did not help one bit. Letting go and asking the right people in the right places for help was torture. Organisations may say no to us, but yes to the right person in the right place with the right thing, that thing being power!

September 2005 ~ 2010

Why should I accept the unacceptable? A bit of a do today. I live as a tenant in a very comfortable flat, yet the management organisation for the Landlord are making my life difficult. Ineffective, inefficient: and totally unacceptable to anyone with half a brain. Yet I keep my cool and persist with generosity of heart. Actually I felt really ill this morning, as resentments were looming. And I know my expectations are resentments under construction. Resentments lead to step tens and my part in matters. Let go and let those with the power do something. So I have exercised my power and voiced my feelings and observations as I see the situation, I then let go and let those with power and authority deal with it. If they can they will, if they cannot, they are in the same place as me, powerless over people places and the things which are not possible.

I have spoken to two people about this, who are not involved and we have smiled and seen the up side as well as the down side. Will it kill me today? No, so let go and let go some more, or I get ego rising and everything goes mad in my head. And the god problem happens, I act as if I know best and I don't on my own.

So I need a fellowship meeting to still the mind, talk if I feel the need and today more likely to remember and simply listen to what others are saying and doing. By the time I go to bed tonight I need simply realise that people are doing the best they can with what they have, sometimes the best is their worst, just like me... Step nine and ten help me. Do no harm, forgive everything and be at peace with my world today...

Amends to self? As we live to good conscience and sober life improves on a personal level. We still encounter dishonest, unwilling and closed down ego driven people, just like we can be. Then we have to learn what to do when we feel we are asked to accept the unacceptable behaviour of others, walk away, confront, conflict today?

We ask for help; sharing what we had done, with the sanctuary of anonymity so we may find the truth of who we can be today. Amends to be made to those we had hurt and harmed by how we live and not doing further harm to others. Amends take many forms, not usually of our choosing as we live sober today...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "We asked his protection and care with complete abandon. [big book] I could not manage my life alone. I had tried that road and failed. My “ultimate sin” dragged me down to the lowest level I have ever reached and, unable even to function, I accepted the fact that I desperately needed help. I stopped fighting and surrendered entirely to God [and or good conscience, and living to truth, love and wisdom learned from those around me].Only then did I start growing! God [and or good conscience, truth, love and wisdom learned from those around me] forgave me. A Higher Power had to have saved me, because the doctors doubted that I would survive. I have forgiven myself now and I enjoy a freedom I have never before experienced. I’ve opened my heart and mind to Him. The more I learn, the less I know – a humbling fact – but I sincerely want to keep growing. I enjoy serenity, but only when I entrust my life totally to God [and or good conscience]. As long as I am honest with myself and ask for His help, I can maintain this rewarding existence. Just for today, I strive to live His will for me – soberly. I thank God that today I can choose not to drink. Today, life is beautiful!"
September 7 | 12 Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

DonInLondon As we move along in recovery, the temptation to keep volunteering may be deep rooted. Spiritual progress might be not volunteering so others can take up scarce service positions? Same old, same old can block, stifle and hinder the health of individuals and the fellowship. When I feel the fellowship is changing and is not what it used to be, I am thankful that recovery is healthy, changing and keeping me on my sober toes today...

Stick with the winners... A winner in one meeting may seem like a loser in another, a lot like looking in the mirror for me. Progress today, not filling the emptiness with fear, simply having courage and faith that I need space to grow...

September 2005 ~ 2010

Our side of the street clean, our conduct and our behaviour change... Twelve step fellowships provide us with the tool kit to see how we were in the past and how we are today. Twelve steps to appraise ourselves and make changes to us, not to judge others or change others or we will go mad again and again...

Alcohol the rapacious creditor: my best friend, a love affair? If it was not alcohol it would be anything, people, places things, collecting always to fill the gap inside. And still the gnawing emptiness with every success, whatever I thought it to be. Not so now, learning to love; be loved and useful, just for today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ ""our side of the street" we are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worthwhile can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. [big book]

I made amends to my dad after I quit drinking. My words fell on deaf ears since I had blamed him for my troubles. Several months later I made amends to my dad again. This time I wrote a letter in which I did not blame him nor mention his faults. It worked, and at last I understood! My side of the street is all that I'm responsible for and thanks to God [and or good conscience, truth, love and wisdom learned from those around me] and A.A., my side of the street is clean for today."
September 6 | Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

DonInLondon ~ Risk? What if I was to tell you the truth and you don’t like it? Am I in possession of the truth, or just my opinion and belief? I can misjudge, misinform, make mistakes and not progress when I exclude you from my understandings… Truth is revealed when we speak up today…

September 2005 ~ 2010

Breaking habits of a life time? Now a life time is one day long... "another day above ground is a miracle" said the man in the street walking his dog. I saw my neighbour yesterday, on my way out to the market. I had not seen him for months, as I have been away from regular meetings with injuries this year. He is in the fellowship as are hundreds of people in my neighbourhood. My neighbourhood; where the richest people in the world live, and also the poorest, from any background, colour and creed. So many in fellowships in my neighbourhood to keep sober and live happy lives, whatever our circumstances, fellowships are always free. Addiction has no boundaries and affects anyone who is susceptible, alcohol, drugs, substances and behaviour. In fellowship, with one purpose, prejudice and background is put aside, often lost and forgotten as we learn to love, be loved and useful again. We become human as we become sober and learn to value all life if we are so inclined. Indeed the only prejudice we have becomes addiction itself.

The man and his dog, no one else in the street knows of the years in sobriety and need never know as fellowship provides anonymity. But hundreds know all the same. Anonymity is the sanctuary to find truth, love and wisdom from others and ourselves, one day at a time. Some suggest god is truth, love and wisdom we learn from others. I am happy with this starting point and truth, love and wisdom is my higher power. I need truth love and wisdom to keep sober, a very cool outlook for me today.

And good conscience prevails as we become sober if we are inclined, self-harm and harming others pulls us down as surely as any addiction. As we make amends as we go, when we find ourselves in troubled moments, truth will always set us on the right course of action today. Open, honest and willing, sober offers hardship joy and sadness, as life is and not some fantasy we may have lived in the past. Sober for today, means I give life my best shot, no promises, simply reality and life on life's terms today...

2010 ~ AA Steps and philosophy; freedom to make good choices. Letting go old ways and outlooks, and giving up our secrecy about our drinking. We learn in fellowship we need never pick up a drink again. Learning news and outlooks, we stop self-harm, and stop harm done. We make amends as we can and by how we live today...

2010 ~ AA life a day at a time; out of the problem and into the solution. We start with 90 meetings in 90 days, a commitment to new living, and sober. Sometimes quickly we feel we are on the right path, sometimes slowly and sometimes we stumble, and we keep coming back as sober sticks, and life improves just for today...


AA Daily Reflections ~ "Removing threats to sobriety... except when to do so would injure them or others [big book]

Step Nine restores in me a feeling of belonging, not only to the human race but also to the everyday world. First, the Step makes me leave the safety of A.A., so that I may deal with non-A.A. people “out there,” on their terms. It is a frightening but necessary action if I am to get back into life. Second, Step Nine allows me to remove threats to my sobriety by healing past relationships. Step Nine points the way to a more serene sobriety by letting me clear away past wreckage, lest it bring me down."

Step Nine Reading

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

How It Works

Although these reparations take innumerable forms, there are some general principles which we find guiding. Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. We may lose our position or reputation or face jail, but we are willing. We have to be. We must not shrink at anything.
-A.A. Big Book p.79

After we have made a list of people we have harmed, have reflected carefully upon each instance, and have tried to possess ourselves of the right attitude in which to proceed, we will see that the making of direct amends divides those we should approach into several classes. There will be those who ought to be dealt with just as soon as we become reasonably confident that we can maintain our sobriety. There will be those to whom we can make only partial restitution, lest complete disclosures do them or others more harm than good. There will be other cases where action ought to be deferred, and still others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all.
- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 83
September 5 | Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

DonInLondon People matter today. I was sharing with friends the nature of forgiveness changes through time. Often we will not apply forgiveness to ourselves, and yet forgive others everything. At my worst I was doing the best I could, at their worst it was the best they could, forgiving is equalising. We always face consequences of actions at our worst, and hopefully we learn and change as we may. That was then this is now, just for today...

September 2005 ~ 2010

"Get Over it"

So often said in a harsh moment, "get over it" and whatever the “it” may be, we can chew a long time on "it" before we do. The "it" to get over is usually the impact of people, places and things on me or you. An impact we do not like, usually a loss of some we see precious and important to us. Some say we need live recovery like a loose garment, room to move and breathe, get used to new attitudes and outlooks, let go what is not ours to covet is often the answer. Covet ~ "to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another"

What we most often covet is freedom. And the irony as we learn in recovery is we cherish our freedom to live well, to love, be loved and useful. And then when others exercise their choices and freedoms, we can become quite bitter and twisted very quickly. They don't love us back and we feel useless, followed by every dark thought as a response.

Emotional balance is not a neutral way to live where nothing upsets our outlook. Actually everything upsets our balances. Physically every time our heartbeat goes up or down as our feelings impact on us, we are creating a new balance. So we will feel life as we go, and our heartbeat is raised many times a day by what is going on. All good, and this reaction to our situation keeps us safe and also can put us in harm’s way. Joy and sadness in different amounts are experienced each day.

Our emotions are us, and then we think, often singled minded, to our view and not the overall view of a situation. Balance comes when we accept everyone has the same rights, and same responsibilities. At this moment we find a conflict on so many levels. No one person sees our outlook as we see it, and the same applies, we do not see another’s outlook and situation, unless we pause and reflect...

As we learn, the viewpoints of others and how they differ from ours, we find the connection. How to have empathy, how we see, not how I see all the time. Life is a series of agreements and disagreements, inclusion and exclusion as we learn in the moment.

Balance? Something I see as I swing by... until I ask and connect, until I can accept the situations as they are today and then work on choices based on others outlooks as well as my own.

We "get over it" a thousand times a day; sometimes it is just the one we need really get over, our own point of view, our own ego and our single minded purpose to be right all the time...

September 5 2010 ~ in a judgmental frame of mind, we see in others what we do not see in ourselves. It does not take much persuading to see their faults, and then the world can turn dark very quickly. Better to look inwards to good judgment, make the best choices, let go and move along in a timely manner... today

September 5 2010 ~ a day in the life as you see it... Judged and judged again in the malady of addiction, snap decisions others made to avoid us at all costs... Odd these days we can do the same, judge harshly in recovery when we encounter our fellows in the malady. I am responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help...
Video Link To This Day:

AA Daily Reflections ~ "Emotional balance... Made direct amends to such people wherever possible [12&12]

When I survey my drinking days, I recall many people whom my life touched casually, but whose days I troubled through my anger and sarcasm. These people are untraceable, and direct amends to them are not possible. The only amends I can make to those untraceable individuals, the only "changes for the better" I can offer, are indirect amends made to other people, whose paths briefly cross mine. Courtesy and kindness, regularly practiced, help me to live in emotional balance, at peace with myself. "
September 4 | Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

DonInLondon Last night was fantastic, met a friend at a meeting, meeting was deep and poignant. Then a cycle ride to Soho, Piccadilly and Regents St. Amazing sites, people enjoying the buzz and night life. I loving the experience of seeing everything, sober, happy joyous and free…
The amend to self, to love the experience, see real life happening and its okay to be me today…

September 2006 ~ 2010

Recovery life, full of tangles and stumbles

In recovery we go backwards as well as forwards in our feelings and thinking. Our feelings hurt a lot, because we don't medicate or fix them anymore, we live with them. We do learn so slowly what may be good for us, we always want to speed up past the pain and get back to peace, serenity and happiness. After all we are human beings, simply having a human experience. We prefer edited good highlights in our daily life, yet when we watch TV we often feel better for a dose of human misfortune... Then we probably reckon our own lives are not that bad?

Tangled living means we can go on too long expecting things to improve, with people and places, which we are powerless over. When we realise that we are accepting the unacceptable behaviour of others and ourselves as a consequence or living in places bad for us, we can find it hard to let go. Until we see, we are powerless over people and places, and then change is on offer as we choose to behave differently.

Love as we find in recovery does make anything possible, at the same time some things are unlikely to change. When we love ourselves and others, we can stick around in pain too long. As we get stuck, so does all that is around us. And we stumble, blinkered by our own hope that things will change as if by magic. The magic we find in step nine? We can change our outlook, our attitudes and behaviour and make changes. Usually painful as we learn how.

Step nine shows us we don't need to stick around in hopeless situations we made with people, places and holding onto dreams without foundations. We learn to see the unacceptable far sooner, "least harm, soonest mended?" If we choose well and review daily in gratitude for what works, and step 10 inventories, the pain is less prolonged and serenity restored much more often than "back then"

Easy to write, hard to do, until we do it...

September 4 ~ Always the journey, always in our endeavours and choices, work life, take action and gain wisdom. Constant change and growth means we constantly let go old attitudes and behaviour so we make room for new. We hold on to what is good for us, let go what hinders us. Room for growth today?
Video Link To This Day:

September 4 ~ Recovery works one day at a time... "under construction daily" if we try re-invent ourselves, most likely we invent nothing more than what we know already. Old habits are hard to shake loose. If we are open to learn from everything and everyone, new outlooks and new choices open up daily. Let go, let good...
Video Link To This Day:
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Reconstruction... Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead...[big book]

The reconstruction of my life is the prime goal in my recovery as I avoid taking that first drink, one day at a time. The task is most successfully accomplished by working the Steps of our Fellowship. The spiritual life is not a theory; it works, but I have to live it. Step Two started me on my journey to develop a spiritual life; Step Nine allows me to move into the final phase of the initial Steps which taught me how to live a spiritual life. Without the guidance and strength of a Higher Power, it would be impossible to proceed through the various stages of reconstruction. I realize that God [or simply, good conscience and wisdom learned] works for me and through me. Proof comes to me when I realize that God [good conscience and wisdom learned from life and other people] did for me what I could not do for myself, by removing that gnawing compulsion to drink. I must continue daily to seek God’s [wisdom of life] guidance. He [providence] grants me a daily reprieve and will provide the power I need for reconstruction."
September 3 | Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

Higher Powers than me: Changing our life situation and turning it all around, from being helpless and hopeless to functioning and productive human beings. If we could not stop ourselves from drinking, friends and family had little or no chance of providing sufficient reason or love. At rock bottom there is no love for ourselves, and we are desperate. We promise everything and can deliver nothing. Is it any wonder we share about a higher power helping us? Our higher power...

My higher power: the understanding, love and compassion learned from those who keep sober so I can see a life to be lived, my life with every interest I may find open to me in reality. And what of their higher power? Simple for me, learning and wisdom, truth and a learning to live in the one day which counts, where have choices, today. God is the ultimate higher power? I know I am not god and cannot define god. I do know the power of nature and providence that each day we humans evolve and learn and change; if we are able and not driven mad by self-obsession…

Nature and providence that is the "universe" is so big we cannot comprehend it, and providence, our good fortune or bad fortune is as we see it and experience it daily. A universe so big, we are not at its centre and we are simply a part of something. I came to believe that God manifests as "truth of now" "love" and "wisdom." I learn about truth, love and wisdom every day, as life is and not what I want it to be. Human understanding of science and everything is bigger than me. So I know in my own world and world of humans, I learn truth, love and wisdom from others, and add to truth, love and wisdom in our human world.

God manifests as good conscience in action of all humans having a human experience. As good conscience needs daily attention, so do I, learning and living in sobriety and living a life with choices which are good for me and everyone I encounter. The devil is in the detail? Me thinking I know best, when in reality, we live together and coexist, so “we” know best, as life is today. As we learn to cherish ourselves, we learn to cherish everyone. To love, be loved back and useful is a choice we make daily.

God, nature and providence are never the problem; it is in the detail where we choose to reside, where problems manifest when we forget our primary purpose, to live well together and cherish always...

Our sober life is a beginning. Our old outlook, attitudes and behaviour made us closed down, unwilling and quite frankly dishonest in our dealings with ourselves and others. We can feel conflicted with the "new us"; now more open, honest and willing to change, and so we simply make progress today...

Keeping it real, we love people just the way they are. In recovery we see the tragedy of a life ended too soon in addiction and we might wish they had found the path of sobriety. As we could not stop our love affair with alcohol on our own, we keep sharing our experience strength and hope as we may, love and cherish always...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "Building a new life... We feel a man is unthinking when he says sobriety is enough. [big book]

When I reflect on Step Nine, I see that physical sobriety must be enough for me. I need to remember the hopelessness I felt before I found sobriety, and how I was willing to go to any lengths for it. Physical sobriety is not enough for those around me, however, since I must see that God's gift [or the gift of wider perceptions through good conscience] is used to build a new life for my family and loved ones. Just as importantly, I must be available to help others who want the A.A. way of life. I ask God [or in meditation and in good conscience] to help me share the gift of sobriety so that its benefit may be shown to those I know and love."

September 2 | Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

DonInLondon Last night the meeting felt like comedy hour, tragic comic, real life shared and truth, love and wisdom abounded. The consequences of living sober? Everything that happens in the next 24 hours will be felt as it happens, good, bad or indifferent today…

And I laugh at myself, happy to be human making progress; every step forward might mean two steps back. And that is okay today, because today is where I see the wisdom which makes the difference. No expectations no resentments and life is surprising me in the moment…

September 2006 ~ 2010

As new living opens us up with a clearer outlook we find new purpose in living. Simply the purpose is what we find out as we live each day. Humility: our key to new life and learning. We open up to the power of nature and providence whatever each of us understands it to be. We are a part of life today...

Life and death... lessons in recovery life. Last year, a neighbour perished as a consequence of addiction. Asked to help it was too late, the memory and details clear and imprinted. Before I found recovery, I was another statistic. In recovery, the horror and consequences a reality. A good person lost, cherished in memories always...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "Finding "a reason to believe" The willingness to grow is the essence of all spiritual development. [As Bill Sees It]

A line from a song goes, ". . . and I look to find a reason to believe.” It reminds me that at one time I was not able to find a reason to believe that my life was all right. Even though my life had been saved by coming to A.A., three months later I went out and drank again. Someone told me: "You don't have to believe. Aren't you willing to believe that there is a reason for your life, even though you may not know yourself what that reason is, or that you may not sometimes know the right way to behave?" When I saw how willing I was to believe there was a reason for my life, then I could start to work on the Steps. Now when I begin with, "I am willing," I am using the key that leads to action, honesty, and openness to a Higher Power moving through my life."
September 1 | Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous

DonInLondon Spiritual living and the fourth dimension, "time" is about utilising previous life experience to find out why the past contributes to positive or negative events today. No longer living in the past we are rocketed into the present moment. It can be "rude awakening," and always a "spiritual awakening" if we are grounded in truth, love and wisdom...
September: daily reflections, all about step & tradition nine. "Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others." And of course: “the promises.” In my experience the promises can be resentments under construction if we hand over personal responsibilities to our higher power.

September 2008 ~ 2010
Step nine is about clearing the wreckage of the past, what our old attitudes and behaviour did to ourselves and others and making the amends we can. Back then, when I as an active alcoholic I hurt myself and others. Step nine recognising old ways, making amends and committing to new ways of living... the promises

Recovery is not about waiting for some magic, it is about putting in action to change our attitudes and behaviour. We need learn our feelings anew in recovery long enough to know what they are. Having found out what our feelings are, we then need take action or stinking thinking can make as mad as hell all over again today...

AA Daily Reflections ~ "Willingness to grow... If more gifts are to be received, our awakening has to go on. [As Bill Sees It]

Sobriety fills the painful “hole in the soul” that my alcoholism created. Often I feel so physically well that I believe my work is done. However, joy is not just the absence of pain; it is the gift of continued spiritual awakening. Joy comes from on-going and active study, as well as application of the principles of recovery in my everyday life, and from sharing that experience with others. My Higher Power presents many opportunities for deeper spiritual awakening. I need only to bring into my recovery the willingness to grow. Today I am ready to grow"

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

"Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

This step does carry a condition -- except when to do so would injure them or others. If the act of making amends will open old wounds or create new harm, then making direct amends may not be an option. The benefit of making amends by the recovering person does not do more harm than good.

"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. The A.A. Steps & Traditions are neither: rules, regulations, or 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 Nine, AA 12 Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps AA, Addiction And Recovery, Addict, Alcoholic, Alcoholism, DonInLondon, Life Works