July 22 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 7 Courage To Change Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "the good and the bad…" Like the film, the good the bad and the ugly! We all have the capacity to be driven towards the good the bad and the ugly of how any human can behave in different circumstances. Good news when sober, we know the difference in what is good for us and is good for other people, and that we can be deflected off this path on any given day…
Video For Today:
Step seven is really and truly about accepting our humanness, that we can live to good conscience with humility and we can find our darker sides when we are up against difficult times in difficult circumstances. The phrase or saying, "the ends justify the means" is often said when we step out of our boundaries of good sense and good behaviour to justify an outcome we desire or feel is necessary at the expense of other people…
We will be drawn towards living an open, honest and willing life. We will benefit from finding out the truth of life on a daily basis, what we can do and what is against our reasonable outlook are the cannot do moments. If we know the truth, the next part for me as being a loving person and cherishing people even though I may have those standards and ideals, what the rest of the world does is not for me to judge or try control. Truth, love and asking for help keep me on track more often than not for a day…
Hearing another person speak recently, of their recovery and sharing their experience strength and hope was a delight. And more importantly, they realised their situation with regard to alcohol far sooner? As I write this I realised I could drink most of my friends under the table from my late teens and I realised my behaviour was different. My denial of the problem was 35 years or more. Good to see that others find fellowship and recovery much earlier than I these days…
I was able to share recently that step six and step seven are really key each and every day. With enough humility to ask for help I find the courage to change, faith to do the next right thing and keep on learning the wisdom to know the difference. I learn equally from times of fear, putting on a brave face and ego like a figleaf covering up my shame and guilt about being less than you. I am not less than anyone in terms of rights and responsibilities and look to courage, faith and confidence to keep me safe just for today…
AA Daily Reflections ~ ""The good and the bad": July 22 ~ "My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad." [AA Book] Step 7 Reflections
The joy of life is in the giving. Being freed of my shortcomings, that I may more freely be of service, allows humility to grow in me. My shortcomings can be humbly placed in God's loving care and be removed. The essence of Step Seven is humility, and what better way to seek humility than by giving all of myself--good and bad--to God, so that He may remove the bad and return to me the good."
Issues of later sobriety, a local meeting. Good to listen to sober people in the AA fellowship for many years. The good news, the issues are clearer, the feelings fit the present moment and we can still be “as daft as a brush” one day at a time…
Newcomers in our meetings. Sometimes when I see a newcomer across a crowded room, at the end of a meeting, I see their aloneness, isolation and disconnection. I cannot always speak to them, age and gender stops me. I have to hope an appropriate person will and share their message of experience strength and hope…
"The good and the bad" We learn what works in life, the good of living sober. We learn what does not work, the pain in living sober, old habits die hard. From extremes back then: to new attitudes and behaviour. From unsustainable extremes, to deeper balances in living, today wisdom grows with sober first
Sober first, "we do not accept the unacceptable." Sober first, we feel right and think right more often. We feel love, love back and become useful. Acceptance of the truth of now, we see the difference between our good and bad experiences in our attitudes and behaviour. We need let go with love what is vexatious today...
Publish July 22 2007
DonInLondon - July 22 2007 ‘Day In the Life’
Reflections and Outlooks - Good For A Day!
The words of a song, “don’t go changing to try and please me.” They just popped into my mind. I realise for many years I was forever changing to please someone and most often it was not me. So why today? Today has been a day of sitting with feelings and memories and knowing the changes of the last few months have been quite beyond anyone’s power to keep us from hurt and grief. When we lose a person suddenly and still want them here and a part of life, it’s hard to come to terms with life as life is, without them.
My fellowship, AA, alcoholics Anonymous has helped me prepare for most of life on a day to day basis, and keep me from harm’s way, that is self-harm with drink, self-harm with depression I cannot shift and self-pity, which comes hand in hand with grief. Self Pity for the right reasons and for long enough to let go the burden of sadness is truly necessary and we need not suppress it or we live with its pain inside us for years on end. There is always a caveat with emotional shifts we can have. We are merely chemistry after all, and some impacts of life and living mean some of us have clinical conditions of depression. These are stubborn and persistent states of being, and need medical help to improve brain function to a place determined as a normal state of being.
I do mention with great care clinical conditions because most people with them including me often fall into the denial of stopping medical support and stopping medication because its deemed a failure by others who don’t have clinical conditions. So even in this world of fellowship some are foolhardy throw away best medical practice and suffer badly as a result of wanting and pretending to be ok.
So helpful our denial, we need to know what we are denying. Medical help is a pre requisite of mental wellbeing when our chemistry is lacking essential and absolutely necessary medications to get to a place where others experience normality.
The quest to be ordinary
Some of us have tried the “no intervention” route with clinical conditions only to find we are back in the mire of dark and black moods we have no way to shift without this simple help. And why? Because of prejudice we have about ourselves about our mental health, and others, usually zealots and throwbacks to times past suggest the only way is their purist way to hell.
Listening to some who throw away medical support and help, we can hear them becoming more and more obsessed as time drives them into the dark pit of depressive behaviour and worse, thinking patterns which harm and then self harm is inevitable. Where we hear loss of self-esteem and sometimes oppressive views about themselves and their validation is to argue and argue for their own sanity, they are indeed in need of help.
I am one of them, and have done self harm to deaths door too often to realise the futility of tokenism and blather which comes with these territories of mental perfectionism. Medical expertise can give us the key to normality. And it merely feels awkward because it’s just plain ordinary and not the helter-skelter of manic conditions untreated as we get high and low on our own chemical catastrophe, without any help from booze of pills. I have done this for decades in the past and it was not good.
I take best medical advice these days and don’t give a thought to ascetic types steadfast in their glory of recovery knowledge as useful to wellbeing as any crackpot notion supplied by the medicine men with the alchemy of belief ringing in their egoistic heads. Mind you faith and belief are key in any scenarios, which is why we get hoodwinked so often by those with recovery and serenity espoused and not often experienced. I have heard them called fuckwits by some…
Back to Today
And today has been all about recovery from life events and grief we need work through what we can. Memories and good times, moments and recollections can be so very difficult. We work as we may. I know all family close are as may be and living as can be and that friends and fellows are as they will be. Some up some down, most following good emotional paths as they can, and most I know like me taking their necessary medications, which keep them and me near normal as normal can be.
I also know there is a regime change I am to start, which make for difficult times and emotional upheaval. As if I have not had enough already these last few weeks, I am best to take advice on these next steps. And better able to assess what is good for me with consultation and not ‘brave facing’ as some still do. You may detect some quite difficult feelings of imploring others to do what is suggested not only from those with wisdom in fellowship, but those with wisdom from medical sources as well. Or indeed the game of life is terror rather than normality. I speak as one converted to pragmatic views and being whole rather than incomplete and unable to face life as life is, has been near ended too many times by my bravery and fear. Courage and faith replace fear and bravery with help and support. Simple stupid, I was stupid and the answers were simple.
So I have dug out some words from last year at this time. They feel angry words and reflect my feelings about life and how I was treated badly because I was so ill and unable to fend for myself. And still I detect bothersome warning signs that my outlook is robust and still quite thin as it goes just now.
In all I am ok with where my ‘normal’ is today, and understand most of life again. It’s a road so sorry and sad, when alone we try so hard to be what we can and what others prefer us to be. We all need help along the way. And there are no standard answers as life is never quite the same from day to day.
Ok for today, just for this day. Fra Giovanni from half a millennia ago, his words and my friendships suit me today, for those loved and lost as friends and lovers over the years. For those loved and still very much alive although estranged. And for everyone I meet and can share time be myself as you are yourself, I salute you with love…
"Letter to a Friend"
I salute you…
I am your friend and my love for you goes deep.
There is nothing I can give you which you have not got.
But there is much, very much, that while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instance.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty . . . that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage then to claim it, that is all! . . .
And so I greet you, with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
"Letter to a Friend" by Fra Giovanni, 1513
July 22 2006
Good Intentions - Hell on Earth
“Merely intending to do good, without actually doing it, is of no value”
We all get confused with life, with ourselves, our needs and desires. We get confused by our family and friends, and we may be full of good intentions. Sometimes though, with everyone’s best interest we move towards our own hell on earth, merely by being ourselves. We may heed our good conscience and good intent, and we may create havoc along the way. Sometimes we need find another road and make good intent, our actions and reality. For indeed we do not go out to harm or put ourselves or others in harm’s way.
We learn these lessons and mistakes over and over, and we get better at spotting our errors of thinking, and make good feeling when we honour commitments we have and natural endings in matters which require ends. Equality and opportunity need be our principle and we are best involved when we are equal to our opportunities. And ensure inequality as it emerges is undone.
Situations and life change and we make good our living when we keep an even course and open and honest living. How else can we live? Well can always stay on our road of good intentions and arrive where we most fear its end. Best change track and road and get back to our principles and values, and keep safe with ourselves and others along the way.
The past is history, so let it go. The future is a mystery, so let it come. The present is this moment now - a gift. To be truly in the present today, it is useful to release all your fears (based on the past) and your worries (imagined futures) - this is the work of someone who truly wants to awaken, and break free from the anchors and burdens of dead yesterdays and speculative tomorrows. It begins simply - with awareness. See your fears, see your worries, look at them in the face, watch them come and go. Treat them like your children on their way out to play. Let them go. Be here now they say, easier said than done, I hear you say. But no one can stop us, except for ourselves. There is only now - even if you are in planning mode, stay in the present as you plan tomorrow, it's when we drift into tomorrow with our imagination that we succumb to a lazy avoidance of this moment.
Betrayal Truth Forgiveness
That touch as ego drifts to living hell
As if by magic made, I am reminded in my fellowship why Tuesday's touch was as profound, and betrayal is not my way. Even when I am alone, it’s my betrayal of me. Early morning hours become my favourite times for listening to my world, when the quiet of the night stirs me to conscious contact with
my good conscience. Good conscience, that part of us which connects to a power greater than me, where the drift to ego is lost to truth and open hearts wash their souls, and find forgiveness.
My early morning hours as fellowship brings the gifts others face and the key to living well. A time to reflect on good conscience and conduct I would live. And recall stories where others failed to heed and then find nightmares wake them from awkward tiresome slumbers bedecked with misery. Betrayal must be the key to breaking hearts.
Hearing hearts break, it’s never going to make us feel so bad again, for that first break mended, scars our innocence and keeps us prisoner from love. And the misery and grief as sharp breath, gasps, predicates a telling moment where all is lost and broken and we know. A moment has turned love sweet to bitter in our mind, pain surges through every part of our being and we see our lovers trail to hell, and ours. Betrayal stalks with hunters eye and kills love stone dead and denial makes that drift to ego’s deep.
Ego’s drift, our gift to keep us mad and madder than we might at first surmise as guilt of others permeates and fills our hearts and minds. Ego’s drift to guilt, defiance leads our steady progress to insanity. And all the time the guilty walk free as we in prison hold our guilt and shame as wreckage, we can hold inside and do the same as we have felt. We learn so well. We might wonder at our passion spent and growing in another way, to find revenge and make escape to happier moments, yet that prison guards us well.
And in my fellowship we learn how to let our feelings go. And make redemptions road. But others might find the key to ego’s drift again, as they pull us back from where we came and make the journey back to hell. Betrayal knocks again. And it was like this again in fellowship, we hear so many stories of others journeying and making good their lives. And then we hear with
clearer minds how others are sucked back into that mire.
As we learn to make life work again, we confess all we can recall and offer our sincere and heartfelt sorrow for how we were and how we may conduct ourselves. Making good from insanity. We know this road is our way out and it’s got to be our best of routes to find redemption in the day. In contrition and good conscience how we might make good our conduct, behaving well for you and me. And it is more than this in our new way, to make good on old wounds of time. We feel the pain forever more unless we move to our good conscience and far away from ego’s drift. Betrayal is found along the way.
And as we journey, it seems we all discover our conduct is not as bad as we might seem to think or feel. Our madness was inspired and led by our insanity and fuelled by anything we found to fix the gap inside our souls where love was lost.
If we understand our plight we see how forgiving we can be. Simply if we are able as our new world offers to see the harm done in our own history, we find forgiveness in our hearts for others who may do us wrong. The wrong we feel as others betray is as harsh and harsher now we understand our own. And our views can harden in two ways, we lose our understanding of the human heart, or we understand the path we tread is simply ordinary life.
It’s really easy as we get to understand and deal with our demons, the hurt the pain and suffering felt. And if we understand our own and find a new way to live, we can be over sensitive to how others treat us. We can become full of deep and unyielding judgment when others hurt and betray us. Or we can forgive our own conduct and keep ourselves safe as others learn their path.
Betrayal still hurts us deep. And we need be mindful when we are hurt so bad our broken feelings don’t lurch to passions and hate and revenge. We need to be open to forgiving our part in all we touch, and touch the hearts still learning how to be all they can in their own good conscience.
Our journey is our own, and others who journey along are learning too how they may hurt themselves and us too. We don’t realise just how deep betrayal cuts us. What a nightmare betrayal is, when trust is abused and lost. Manipulation complete as betrayal shows us the truth of you and me.
I listened and heard and understood the betrayal shared in fellowship, and realised the deep of hurts felt as trust and love is lost. For indeed forgiveness does not turn back the clock and we are human and need protect our vulnerable inner selves. As trust is broken as hearts are torn, then we learn to move along, hoping for repair in our journey and living.
Our choices when betrayal happens is really what we might decide in that horrid moment when all is lost, and we discard the betrayer in their guilt. Or we may wait and see what might happen if we have a mind so strong to understand what happened and why betrayal came our way. And we need to work our feelings out, and we need to make our decisions on what we know of how things are, and not what we imagined they might be. Our hearts and minds are stung with grief, not the time for deep, for we need to protect and find a place to mend ourselves. And we are best supported when catastrophe strikes.
And we see reality screams the truth we knew. And our forgiving of ourselves led to forgiveness and acceptance of something we knew we could not tolerate unless our guilt and shame were strong enough to mediate our pain. We put ourselves in jeopardy as we might when shame is still inside, and let our devil sit with us, and then betray our trust. Our judgment shatters as we look at every element we recall and see our folly is loss of truth along the way. And merely joined in what we knew to be false as denial made possible in our journey to redemption, made our open hearts vulnerable to all and every shysters medicine. That which seemed to be that elixir of life itself, love was merely in the mind of ego and drifting in shallow seeds of time where nothing roots to last. And in my fellowship where so tortured we can see the will of us, and others who will masquerade their love, and hold us ransom to loves truth, we can be betrayed as surely as we did ourselves.
And then we see as we unfold this mystery of living that they did not mean to leave our broken hearts beyond repair, or did they? We need remind ourselves as we are redeeming our good living that others are not so well endowed in their good conscience, that they are still in ego’s drift and deserve our absence more than our presence to endure their torture of us for evermore. We need remind ourselves as wisdom grows we need not join the madness all over again and leave ourselves dashed to rocks where we shackle our love and drown as tides of torment cover our fate. For fatefully we may choose to leave that torment far behind.
We need our good conscience to be our guide and surmise what we may do to live well again. Indeed we will experience betrayal as it is part of living and learning how we behave. And we may decide how we behave and know we cannot change another in any way to our view and good conscience. It is our own good conscience we might keep and not be held to ransom of another’s drift into ego's deep. We can keep ourselves safe and know our hurt and let it out. We need not be a prisoner of old times or new lovers conduct we will not accept for ourselves.
Indeed it seems our path does narrow our options to the good when we learn what our good conscience offers. And then our living grows beyond our wildest dreams. If we slip to ego’s drift and let ourselves be washed in others grim truth, the reaper calls and sits in shadows waiting for our madness to grow and return us to insanity. And then, in revenge we plunge our grim judgment as a dagger into the miscreant who is only just close to conscience good, or not as others might discover when they are let go. As we surely must accept our part and culpability in our life. We need not extend our travels in confluence like rivers in turbulent speed set on course for living hell and hellish times where promises and love are false to us. We return our falseness in our fear of loss so driven to insanity, the reaper is there and collects our bounty in our living so, if we are so fearful and lost to love.
Our braver route to let them go, the betrayers of our hearts content, and maybe they will learn the path to their good conscience, I may never know. Except this. They learned how to run from me, and let me find my truth and live honestly in other company more like minded and on a route to peaceful harmony. And remind myself I am as guilty charged and have the wounds of time in me. I do judge you definitely. Yet I know the truth is changing as we speak, for in small ways we learn, that we are all able to betray a love so deep, when we are mad as hell and insanity our master.
I guess the way forward in all we learn, that we may keep others close to us as patterns change and conduct more becoming to their good conscience keeps them safe as well. And learning is our human way and redemption is open to everyone, everyone deserves their chance, maybe, but not with us this day.
And redemption is for others company and not mine, always we find this telling moment where we let them go or stay. And same for me along the way as others judged me rightly, and cast me off to find my good conscience along this lifetimes path. We need not be every element of life or we find ourselves unequal in our living, we are sinners too. And as we sin, yes we do, we need remind ourselves others to need find their own forgiveness in their future conduct, but in between, just go with dark and darken someone else’s door, not mine. You might notice I slip from senses and person third to first. My intent is quite determined and clear to me. It’s simply that this applies to me and everyone. For we are human, as human beings can be..
And although the betrayal I listened to was there, it made realise as evermore to share these shallow ways to hell's deep. We all are culpable, and outcomes differ as we understand the completeness of living love and loving others is never easy or straightforward. And if we came to this world perfect as we might wish, then there is no point to living at all. And in living we connect our spiritual and emotional selves to life and good conscience. And we are allowed to disconnect from those who are too far away from our path. We need let them go on their own road of discovery. We are gifted with equality as well as judgment for ourselves and how we conduct our lives. We don’t need to conduct our lives in betrayals of principles or values we learn to live and others don’t. We don’t need that shit, and we need decide where we are with that as we go. Compromise is key to understanding our humanity, and acceptance of reality helps deal with our world. Sometimes the truth takes time to percolate through our igneous rocks of denial, and hurts are inevitable.
Outcomes are best considered, and then, with good conscience as our guide, with the sure knowledge that but the for the grace of our good conscience we walk that path too.
Welcome back from hell!
Step 7 "Step 7 Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings" "The way we have come to look at humility is that it is a virtue, one of the principles that AA teaches us to live. The definition we have adopted pictures us as standing naked before God, without pretence nor reservation. It means hiding nothing, being our real selves, both good and bad. A good synonym for humility is honesty." BB Bunch
July Video Reading Step Seven Into Action Link:
Step 7 "Courage To Change" Reading Video 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