June 14 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 6 Spiritual Willingness Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "when the going gets rough, do these principles work?" The principles, learning and living the twelve steps has been joyful, wonderful, excruciatingly difficult sometimes, and completely liberating by understanding how to live an emotional and spiritual existence… I was always living an emotional and spiritual existence, I just didn't know it until recovery…
How can I write and say that the twelve steps always help me to find the truth of now? Experience and wisdom learned, real life experience that is and not learning from the book has provided everything to help me with my freedom to choose in any given moment on any given day. Even when I am in denial, fearful and possibly putting on a brave face with ego covering up shame and guilt, if I work and live the principles, the truth will shine through as time and my understanding permit…
When my going has got rough in recovery, loss of loved ones, relationship breakdown, living below the breadline, suffering from malnutrition for over a year, diagnosis of type I diabetes caused by a virus, diagnosis of clinical depression and a chemical imbalance which will never go away in my brain chemistry. All these things have happened over the years in recovery, and with the help of fellowship and the principles of living "the twelve steps" I'm still free to choose, to learn and most essentially continue to know who I am on a daily basis…
When the going gets rough in recovery, and we ask the help from our higher power via those who can listen to us we can have remarkable results. Depending on how difficult and rough our situation gets, some cannot help us, some desert us and those who can really help us are with us all the way. But we have to ask the help in whatever fashion feels right, prayer and meditation and for me, prayer and meditation does work and more directly by sharing with other human beings what is going on...
I don't fear what others may gossip about when it comes to times of trouble. I am not ashamed and I do not feel guilt when I cannot cope with life because this applies to everyone living reality. Indeed gossip can be very useful, because it usually comes back to us via those who are concerned about our well-being. At the same time, gossip can kill trust, weaken integrity and actually kill people. It all depends on how able we are to deal with truth and those who really care for us help without conditions. And the scoundrels who undermine everyone in recovery…? Can go fuck themselves…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "WHEN THE GOING GETS ROUGH... It is a design for living that works in rough going. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 15
When I came to A.A., I realized that A.A. worked wonderfully to help keep me sober. But could it work on real life problems, not concerned with drinking? I had my doubts. After being sober for more than two years I got my answer. I lost my job, developed physical problems, my diabetic father lost a leg, and someone I loved left me for another -- and all of this happened during a two-week period. Reality crashed in, yet A.A. was there to support, comfort, and strengthen me. The principles I had learned during my early days of sobriety became a mainstay of my life for not only did I come through, but I never stopped being able to help newcomers. A.A. taught me not to be overwhelmed, but rather to accept and understand my life as it unfolded."
Choices made with truth and not denial... June all about step 6, defects of character. When I make choices from extremes of fear, putting on a brave face, and little confidence, denial of truth is highly likely. Today if I pause, deal with "I can't believe it moments," get help and respond, truth prevails, denials fade...
"When The Going Gets Rough"... Unity, service and recovery. Life happens, and we are a part of it, good or bad, sad or joyful and often all mixed in together. Life in "real time" experienced in "real time" is wisdom developing in "real time" Rarely do we control it, we always learn living "now..."
June 14 2007
Less Than - DonInLondon ‘Day in the Life’
It has taken me years to understand me, and it’s no wonder. I never probed too deeply into me at all. I spent a lifetime understanding people. And I was pretty good at supporting and assisting anyone in their life choices, and work choices. A sort of “eclectic counsellor.” Life experience and studies of people have always been my main interest over a career of 35 years in business. Before of course I broke down quite stupendously. And I always wondered why I really understood the depths of human doings. Of course I lived a lot of the scenario’s and never experienced quite the same as others, more manifestly excellent life experiences. Now I understand more, the less I realise, I probably know! Indeed I am a novice..
I have realised in this later stage of living, that some of us are not quite the full shilling in some respects connected with happiness. That is to operate on a below par level and so realise the less attractive elements of life others have no and again are really a mainstay of me. It’s called clinical depression by some. And the attitude of many to any mental condition which is “below standard” is to encourage a person to pull their socks up and pull themselves together.
With modern medicines, the management of a depressive state is likely to be improved with other complimentary treatments. However it’s often seen that the patient is not responsive to medicine or other therapeutic interventions.
Why Don’t We Pull Ourselves Together?
Even with chemistry and biology, there is this gaping misunderstanding that people can mend and be a certain way. That is happy. And really we do get happier once we realise we can only do so much and go so far.
I was in good company earlier and felt able to share some of my observations. Maybe it was helpful, I am not sure.
The problem anyone with a deficit in some mental capacities is likely to feel less than equal to life as we see others enjoying things we only get to see and feel rarely or just observe second hand.
And the other part of whatever type of depression manifests, it’s so often profound and disabling, yet attractive as feelings are so deep and so sharp we can feel actual pain and love in extreme versions of what normal people just have as a consequence of their living.
Drama and Sadness
When we try to break out of some of our behaviour we are rendered completely powerless over our feelings and behaviour. It makes us scream inside and outside sometimes. Or in my case I go silent and wait it out as long as it takes. From hours to days to months sometimes. Even with chemical and therapeutic process sometimes absolutely nothing but time seems to heal these rifts in living.
Old Stories and New Times
Hard news for many with a variety of depressive conditions is they come back whatever we do. And as a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic, there have been moments when the attraction of a large doses of insulin and a swift end have been very attractive to me.
Pain itself can stop the whim of desolation and urge to end it all swiftly. I have realised along the way and come to understand as long as I follow medical advice, there comes some normality when it’s possible.
Cognitive Behavioural Nonsense - or CBT Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or “How To Pull Ourselves Together”
When a person is reacting to a situation, an event or something tangible, then CBT, that is cognitive behavioural therapy has a place in counselling. Where the patient or me in this case is slumping into the pit of despair, CBT is the last thing we need because the person who deals in it, feel that I or a patient can talk themselves and feel themselves into a recovering condition. And that is another way of expressing to me or a patient that we can pull ourselves together and put on a brave face and sail into the sunset of our dreams.
I am tempted to use the words of a friend of mine who summed it as and this is a very intelligent individual, “as a load of fucking bollocks” and thank you Clive Hardy for that observation. It will make him smile if he is still alive and kicking. And of course he is pretty right on this.
We cannot talk ourselves out of a permanent chemical imbalance, but we can benefit from therapeutic process which helps us understand what is going on. We can improve our chemistry with good environment and nurture as we know we respond well to stimulus and produce all sorts of chemicals all over the place when we are able. Reactive chemical changes are accepted by me, and work provided there is the mechanical biology to produce these hormones and so enable emotional changes.
How else would we ever fall in love?
We endure false and misconceived therapy offered by lay persons and some professionals who believe and I don’t know why, that humans can talk themselves well, when there is no empirical evidence to suggest they can when the chemistry set inside is broken or beyond repair.
I can endure my depressions with the benefit of knowing what is going on and what to do. And that is often take medication which helps the chemistry of me, and also gives me an opportunity to find out what I can do, and what I cannot do. And this is self-managed learning based on my experience of me, and no one else.
I do believe Clive, an old work colleague and not a counsellor was completely right about the use of his term to describe what a lot of Doctors think and feel. Because they like many others, they are full shit and prejudice, just like everyone else can be too. Including me! And I was and probably still am.
What can we do?
Learn, educate, keep doing the research and stop thinking and feeling you know what is good for me when you don’t have a clue. And I am happy to return the same accommodation to you too. It is vital to survive and make good our understandings of depression, which is a condition that is alleviated with long term chemical and therapeutic help and requires self-monitoring and feedback to trained professionals and researchers.
Hard Science and Behavioural Science
Both help the prospects of people like me. And the good of this is in learning for myself. And the bad of this is the prejudice of others who don’t have it or understand it, that is depression in its many manifestations.
Medical and Spiritual, and God help Us, Religions!
While we are manifestly in denial of some things, and powerless over much of life, we are prone to many filters and delusions, attitudes and behaviours. You might think and feel doctors and scientists are immune to these particular human qualities, there not in my experience.
Indeed the experience of my life and the Doctors who treat the scientific elements of my ailments do quite well. The rest are still floundering like the rest of us in our own prejudice and beliefs. They are as good as their knowledge and experience, sadly never enough. A surgeon can spend years on their craft and skill, and we let others deal with our mental health with hardly time to learn more than basic functions and medications.
No wonder it’s a bit of a challenge! Just for today? For me yes. For science and for the professionals a lifetime study. I hope they keep busy and learn and learn and learn… because I wish one day for people to live without the stigma and prejudice we all carry regarding defects and deficits we can do nothing about. I feel you stir and relish your argument, and are ready with that timeless repost, “pull yourself together man.” And hardly surprising as we with the ego of living through fear and adversity, often we believe we can. We never mend some things in life until it hurts beyond all living, and then sadly too late.
Finally I wonder and accept you may not know what I am talking about, or you do so well it screams at you. I have no way to tell. Either way more to come, just one day at a time for me and a lifetime for you…
May it be long happy and prosperous, as life can be for me as well? One lives in hope and practicalities, for today, and in my world just for 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 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