June 1 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 6 Spiritual Willingness Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "a changed outlook from selfish to selfless…" I guess the attitude of "what's in it for me!" Becomes softened through time if this is our nature to a place where we take account not only self-interest, the interests of everyone we have an impact upon. And this outlook develops and progresses if this is our inclination…
Alcohol takes away our inhibitions when taken in moderation? It seemed to give as a new freedom and in the vernacular "Dutch courage" to free ourselves in some way. My experience today is freedom to be me, to try find truth and honesty and be willing to live life as it is, reality and not fantasy. Whatever I dreamt for in the past, today life is beyond those wildest dreams and fantasies. I am eight years sober today. I live where you live, hopefully for us all in the moment of now…
June: and daily reflections focus on step six, removal of defects… Defects of character or as I see them personality traits at extremes and unworkable on a day-to-day basis. We cannot live at extremes of fear, putting on a brave face and ego covering up shame and guilt and lies. Unsustainable traits! The same is true when it comes to step seven shortcomings: extremes of courage, faith and confidence which has no foundation in reality. And this is not to exclude God. I am minded that Gandhi expressed what I can understand , "God is truth and God is love…"
In step six, personality traits which create extremes of fear, brave facing and ego need to be addressed and considered on a daily basis. In the 12 and 12 in step 12 in the summary of the steps it says "contingent on the day we ask the help. However and whoever we ask the help when it comes to extreme feelings and traits is worthwhile. Asking for help makes us stop and consider what we can and cannot do in the moment of now and just in this one day where everything happens…
In step seven, short on courage faith and confidence, or extreme belief without foundation, which makes courage faith and confidence almost if not equal when it comes to defects of character. Based on truth and love and the next best step, we are probably brought back into balance where natural instincts which are part of the human condition work in the moment…
Enough fear when the situation is fearful, a brave face when dealing with hardship and helping others might be appropriate? And sometimes ego simply informs us and others that something is wrong because we are reacting. Step six and extremes are most often a reaction to an unpalatable reality…
Enough courage so we can make changes, enough faith to be persistent on following the right path and enough confidence through experience and asking for help as we go. Step seven is not blind courage, blind faith and blind confidence… Step seven is the natural progress we make as humans living life in the moment and being open honest and willing. Step seven like step six is about truth, love and wisdom we learn and live in the moment of now, our spiritual life…
Seven years sober today... calm this morning.. Day by day, a journey made possible with the support of fellowship.. "Newcomers" to "Old timers," thankful for the many still on the path and remembering those who have perished along the way, love and gratitude...
June & July Steps six and seven in the daily reflections. Step six days, all about events which evoke fear, a desire to hide our truth and put on a brave face and ego comes rising. Or step seven days where events evoke courage, faith and confidence.. If I know how I feel, I know how to deal...
Step 6 is a step of preparation and reflection. I have been preparing for a significant change in my life and now I need to make sure that I am ready. I need to make sure in my own heart and mind that I am truly willing for God to remove these defects of character that have enabled my addictive behaviors. It might mean letting go of other things in my life in order to allow God to do the work that needs to be done. I need to determine if I am truly ready.
AA Daily Reflections ~ "A CHANGED OUTLOOK Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 84
When I was drinking, my attitude was totally selfish, totally self-centered; my pleasure and my comfort came first. Now that I am sober, self-seeking has started to slip away. My whole attitude toward life and other people is changing. For me, the first “A” in our name stands for attitude. My attitude is changed by the second “A” in our name, which stands for action. By working the Steps, attending meetings, and carrying the message, I can be restored to sanity. Action is the magic word! With a positive, helpful attitude and regular A.A. action, I can stay sober and help others to achieve sobriety. My attitude now is that I am willing to go to any length to stay sober!"
June 1 2007
Rage - DonInLondon ‘Day in the Life’
Revealing the truth. Hard Times are the most difficult and uncomfortable to relate and at the same time it seems I must in this wonderful fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Being Found Out
In the fellowship we do try to develop a path of open, honest and willing attitudes to life. That is we learn how to be truthful and honest. Being willing is a big part of this. As is often said “who wants to admit their faults?” And of course the human condition to gloss over and slide a few denials past ourselves let alone anyone else.
Someone I know talks of “busting” themselves. And it’s all part of the process towards our spiritual improvement. Seeing the truth and living the truth in the present moment. A tall order indeed.
We all have those moments where we can cry out inside our heads, “oh no!”
It’s part of our pride and our ego which makes us stop short sometimes of what we choose to share about ourselves. And we know that secrets in this fellowship are pretty easy to hide, except of course from ourselves. And others can usually pick up on tall stories.
Tonight all about step five. This step encourages and suggests we tell someone else the exact nature of our wrong doings and to let it out. Letting it out means we get a chance to see what exactly we did and why we feel it was wrong, is wrong and what to do.
Well I know there are things I have done over the years which really do make me cringe and feel pretty awful. How many more must I unearth doing these blinking steps. And yet I had let them out pretty much, and still feel more to come. I know there are, I am human after all.
It’s true as we recollect we can become quite full of remorse and truly penitent. And further along in this re-humanising process of step work we work out how to make amends as we may and life affords an opportunity..
Tonight Rage and Anger Inwards and Outwards
It was a pretty full meeting and many people not only have done this step, they have continued to do it as time goes by. And the same for me and being pretty new, I thought I had done a lot of this, but I find as time and memories are unearthed there is much I have forgotten till recent times. And it makes me feel my ears go red. The zing of shame and lies I have told myself.
Things Done when not Sober
We can have pretty alarming shocks. Most things we have done often revolve around relationships and digressions from our true preferences for open honest and willing. In out of control behaviour and as others would attest, my behaviour has been pretty outrageous. Not so in recent times as time has slowed me down and sober outlooks blight the reckless one inside some of the time.
I realised over the years, I had more than taken responsibility for my part in many doings, putting all the blame on me. And forgetting that much of my recollections are not just about me. Failures in relationships, well it takes more than to make a few horrible errors in judgment and I don‘t mean this unkindly either way, but horrible times were fuelled by all manner of human wants. And many like me have often stepped up and been the one to say it was all my fault.
At the same time there are times when it has been me and I have owned up to a lot of this, and surely there will be more as time goes by. This is being willing and accepting. And then sharing all the stuff of decades with another human being. Well we do as we can and as we are able to admit the process works and we get it out in the open. And we will always find more the older we are and the longer we have lost our way.
We often feel anger and rightly. And rage at our own faults and then when we see the part we can own as our part in the events of life there are often others who have no recollection or similar understanding. We can beat ourselves heavily and sometimes rightly. There is a balance though to find in all this chaos. And that needs more than one pair of eyes.
When we depart from our preferred path, then we hit the skids again if we are not too careful. We may not drink, but sober is much more than just that. Sober is a whole way of living, attitudes as they may be and behaviour we will work on till we drop. We need balance.
Raging we can make ourselves ill and revert to lapses in behaviour and worse pick up a drink.
The actual problem we have is getting things right sized, making sure when we endeavour we understand the rules of the game and if the rules don’t suit, don’t play. We need not accept rules which are unfair. And we do need to be more upfront about how we live and others parts in this too.
Clearing the debris and understanding what we have done and why, it helps ensure we don’t go back to old ways. And we need be vigilant as denial is part of the human psyche, we ignore in others or ourselves and end up yet again with burnt fingers.
Much of life offers the same old dilemmas around personal relationships and just relationships per se. The problem is with our new set of attitudes or the right ones installed we can assume everyone is in the same place. Not so!
Inside or outside the fellowship we need be careful what and how we conduct our own matters. And sharing helps us keep with the programme.
People simply are not so transparent of really best equipped to face reality. Which is why denials are so often made and even our culture sanctions lies as politicians twist in their own wind. And so often when we don’t set the rules upfront we come unstuck. And of course not everyone plays by the rules.
A few tonight with open willing and honest behaviour had fallen foul of people all over again and ended up resentful and pretty fed up, in fact in truth raging inside as the burn and hopeless truth was we had been stitched up by our own values and not got the bargain right in the beginning.
What we learn
Being the way we are, a pretty careful set of people with integrity as our goal? Well we may have it yet we find our old ways come up quick, control, manipulation, all sorts to get our way. And worse ordinary people do this all day long too!
So we aspire and try. And sometimes it works and sometimes lessons learned are painful.
For me tonight the rage over the years against me and failures I made. Well they left me often feeling not good enough and so down on myself for not being good enough, the truth is I forgot others parts in my life and life story.
It helps us share and sort out our part in living. Where we went off the path and where others did too, or we ignored good advice and made another muck up because we desired it so.
So tonight it came down to balance. It also highlighted the problem we all face in fellowship. We are all just progressing like normal people do. And mistakes will happen as we endeavour to make good, and be good.
We ain’t all good either. And in sober living some of us don’t learn so well or quickly. And some just observe and actually judge others as they will. Prejudice is never far away. And judgment calls are learned all over again.
Better understanding and listening and making sure where we are, and sharing our stuff all helps keep us as honest as we may.
Denial and Pretending
It lurks manifest and keeps us on our mettle. So easy for esteem to slip over to ego when we feel fear and challenge and indignant sometimes.
Pretending goes on. And some say fake it to make it. It does not work truthfully. And worse of course we find falsehoods and friendship made often can become disasters as others reveal or we reveal our inner truths. Or worse live denials.
Looking right by association, being in the right circles and all this usual stuff can be just beneath the surface as insecurities gnaw at and make worries for those who choose a path where there is little solace. And it’s so lonely to be so in a fellowship, trying to look right and not be overlooked?
Without help I would have perished long ago, broken and smashed against my own values and principles as a career simply careered away. And my outlook so bleak and blackened by anxiety states and more dark depressions and more breaking down along the way.
I am reminded today, on the eve of my third anniversary, and starting my fourth year in sobriety, I need fellowship and purpose.
From self loathing I am learning. From having lost my way and never wanting to start over, I am starting over. I have rough edges, and need to work hard at self esteem. And I need take on board helping and being helped. This world is not kind to isolated warriors fighting the world and shouting inside as the world turns and bitter thoughts are easily made dire and wholly unhealthy. Fellowship and sharing and letting things out, rightsizing me and my fellows as sharing enables a whole different outlook these days.
Shoulders and Chips
We have so many, yet somehow we learn to do things a little differently, and then a whole lot differently. Just one day only making some progress and never perfection. We need let go and accept, make room and run with life as it may, forgive everyone and everything before we go to sleep, and hope they do the same.
As we grow
It is true I feel, that perfection is an unfinished work, ephemeral and simpatico with the times always and forever changing, The journey is all, the destination as certain as our arrival in this world. Nature and providence, timeless custodians of eternity powerless one might presume, as are we.
May your zeitgeist be with you, just for today..
June 1 2007
A question of Secrets and Resentments
I guess the connection of secrets inside us about us, and I do accept some others secrets we know are for no one else (and this makes things quite complicated if we are a counsellor or someone who has confidential access. the boundaries we are able to make if we provide context for others confidences) and resentments.
For me it’s where I might have felt shame for things I have done and not been able to put right and the resentment is in me about me. which is why step 5 and sharing the "insides out" is a humanising process. As is said if there is a name for it, it’s happened millions of times to others through history, so what we feel is unusual and cruel or shaming experience, we need realise is a well-trodden journey for so many.
Resentments against self are the very hardest to express, and might be better shared and easier as we get confident being the right sized normal human, capable as the next of good or bad depending on situation and time. And of course we all have values and principles which vary. And principles and values go out the window in the heat of crises.
Tortured people in their sensibilities, their outlook under extreme conditions do the most awful things sometimes. Under orders, under pressure, fearful and driven by survival and sadly just afraid of being found out.
The truth out, will set us free and help us understand resentment against self are in the moment of now with hindsight and not with the eyes of "back then - in the day."
What upsets me most sometimes is not the madness of my misdeeds whilst drinking, which are about morality and relationships and love lost often, I can understand those things and make amends as I have often, it's the deceit as a child, where innocence is lost in a moment. I pinched a lump hammer off a wall when I was about seven years old and later saw the owner, who lived across the street looking for it. I never confessed at the time and it worried me for an age in my head and in my shame. We get shameful early about things and memories get so distorted, it keeps us in secretive mode for an age until it burns and the truth will out, somehow somewhere.
Where fear grows and fear is compounded by imagination our self-image distorted and our shame guaranteed, well we can be forgiven in the end, but I do feel guilt like anyone long after maybe others have forgiven. And in truth I know some will never forgive me for showing them their insides and calamities and denials about life. The denials roll on for some. Denial is a seductive and simple process of self cleansing often and changing our fantasy to the reality we can live with. People do this all the time from little white lies to darn big whoppers. I catch myself in this tempting enterprise quite often when asked my opinion, and plump for honesty as reactions are given a moment and a responses aids my expression towards a more honest answer, or none at all..
Even now I feel awkward when relationships and friendships hit an impasse, well its old behaviour to see my part in it and take responsibility for others parts too. I am learning the' it takes two, or more for things to go off and spoil. And then letting go and doing no harm help me be silent when resentments need only forgiveness, and I need not tread the same path again. Let go my part and their part, it's a hard ask sometimes as esteem flounders and ego pricks up to fill the dark shames and rejections we all have in life.
So forgiveness is a very necessary part of living, or we end up very alone and very fearful. We need our mistakes as much as success and to own them completely and to the right extent. And that does need more than one pair of eyes. And sharing and undoing the Gordian knots of life. Well we can do so much in a day and do some more as we may and time enables.
A short answer to a lifelong quest.. there is so much more to do
thanks again for reading and asking,
June 1 2007
Feelings And Anniversaries DonInLondon ‘Day In the Life’
Well indeed an anniversary. I am three years sober today and in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. We celebrate birthdays of sobriety and I felt a little nervous and anxious about today. I have always said it took me a week to have some determination, so plumped for June 6, it being D Day and an important universal date. But that felt somewhat grandiose of me and so decided it best to stick with truth, and the truth is it’s today. Three years and not a drop of alcohol for me.
When it comes to me and sharing you might think or feel that I am quite strong and robust in sharing my life. After all it’s all here on the web pretty much. There are still some elements I don’t share because to so would harm others or make them feel used, utilised and put on show maybe. And the truth is it’s quite easy for me to share my stuff. I do it in meetings and here. I don’t feel the need for anonymity in the sense of stigma or being ashamed for an illness which was not planned and keeping in recovery a day at a time.
When I was diagnosed later in sobriety with other ailments. It seemed to me there was little point in feeling less than others by keeping things like my illnesses under wraps. Because I need people to know what is going on so they may help me or avoid me too, as some people are not good with others maladies. It’s not a problem, they can walk on by if needed. And as I wear a chain saying what is going on, at least there are clues if I appear unconscious somewhere and what to do.
Two Meetings of AA today
Yes I went off to Hinde Street this lunchtime to go and be at a meeting which hand out “chips” for anniversaries. And I got my three year chip. It made me nervous, I went to Hinde Street expecting no one would know me there. I was wrong and so the cat was out of the bag. A bit sly of me I guess, I did not want fuss really. I still feel awkward about celebrating and maybe it’s this feeling of “less than worthy” that creeps in from time to time. A hangover from times of fear and being different I guess. At least these days I have great company and understanding fellows. As well as family of course who are integral to my wellbeing a day at a time.
I went to the Bolton’s and did not share, but as we were winding up the meeting the new Secretary asked if anyone was celebrating birthdays, so I was able to put my hand and got clapped for another year in sobriety.
It is without doubt good news and an achievement in this one day living. We don’t get bigger or more bold in sobriety, we sort of stay the same size, right sized!
I felt for others actually and what they are dealing with. And a friend of mine he struggles like me with other health issues and still remains cheerful and there for others. And so am I. It is fellowship after all.
And tonight I realise I care deeply for people who just want a chance to find some path out of abject misery alcohol causes some of us.
I am truly happy for those who can enjoy a drink and keep it sensible in living and remain in good spirits always.
I know with a certain degree of acceptance I would rather not drink today. And as things are it feels right and long may I keep faith, courage and confidence that sobriety is my path.
Life needs to work and we work hard at all elements in the fellowship. What I have learned about feelings and how to live a fruitful and careful life is beyond measure. And the measure is one day for me.
So although I feel happy and content today, I know life has its challenges for me. I have family and fellowship, and unconditional support which is beyond anything I ever thought possible.
They don’t just disappear, and in some way we learn to deal with what causes the fear, the shame or being guilty for even being alive. All these feelings can pounce without too much trouble if I am not taking care or away from fellowship too long.
I have some, I have no idea where they may go. And it does not matter what the end will be, that’s a given. As to the journey by the day, well it’s with me and in good company these days.
Tonight I can say with absolute truth, the gratitude felt for everyone who has helped this sometimes ungrateful individual is beyond words. Family and fellowship have made possible a new life one day at a time, and with hope for a future simply living as one may.
I have my feelings back, that’s the good news. The bad news as we say is, I have my feelings back, all of them and I hope I may for a while yet. Whether is good or bad, easy or painful we learn as we go, and may it be so from hereon in. So much learned and more wisdom to come as life unfolds.
Balance, that elusive mixture still an unknown for me develops as time allows, no short cuts, no fixing, just living and being..
Step 6. "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character"
At this point, it would be a good idea to look again at our sharing in step five, where we define character and list a number of our defects. Completing step 5, we have compiled a list of the character defects. Step six is concerned with our spiritual willingness to have these defects of character removed, contingent on each day we meditate and pray in good conscience, and or to God as we understand for ourselves. Seven billion humans, seven billion outlooks and definitions about God every day... yours is as good as it gets today...
Step 6 "Spiritual Willingness" Reading Video Link:
wrongs. Chapter 6, Into Action, Big Book From: Page 72 Thru: Page 75, the bottom of the page. 12 And 12 Step 5."
June ~ Video Reading Chapter Six Into Action Link:
I do not speak for Alcoholics Anonymous I speak for myself. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of unique and authentic people who speak for themselves where they will to share experience, strength and hope about recovery on a daily basis. Anonymity affords
sanctuary to find how to live sober and be open, honest and willing to learn life day by day. For me "truth," "love" and "wisdom" offer the best spiritual experience by living reality today. Into the fabric of recovery from alcoholism are woven the Twelve Steps and the
Twelve Traditions, steps to be open, honest and willing to learn, traditions to live unity, service and recovery.
Spiritual principles ~ Forgiveness Acceptance Surrender Faith Open-mindedness Honesty Willingness Moral-inventory Amends Humility Persistence Spiritual-growth Service