July 23 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 7 Courage To Change Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "I don't get to choose which defects of character I need work to improve upon on a daily basis…" A good example for me, for decades I have taken photos around London. Yesterday stopped by the police in Piccadilly Circus as I was snapping away. I felt angry and violated. A necessary job to do for the police, protecting people and I had nothing to hide. Why me? Why not me! I prefer being stopped and asked so I may share what I am doing and where to find the photos on my website. They do not know my motives nor should they, these are difficult times…
Video For Today:
Who likes to be challenged on their conduct when going about normal daily routines and activities? In the old days, a brave face, ego and the need to be perfect made me hide the real me. The real me who had to have a drink to do the normal daily routines and activities. And now my routines and activities are quite different sober, what I choose to do and where I choose to live and who I like to be with on a daily basis. Truth, love and wisdom prevails one day at a time…
It is a difficult world, the most simple open and honest activities can be judged very badly by those who have to protect us from a minority. The minority who break the law and may be suspicious in their behaviour. Most importantly for me if I am doing something suspicious in the eyes of somebody else and they have authority to challenge me, is to accept the challenge remain calm, know that I'm not doing anything wrong but will be challenged because that is the way life is these days…
It always takes me a while to find my balance in outlook when things don't go my way. It used to be my way or the highway and I would argue and stated a case till the cows came home. I would not let things go, I would need to provide proof of my rightness and actions. These days however right we may be, we will be challenged and we might find out that we were wrong! Step seven, courage to change, faith in doing the next right thing and confidence to be open honest and willing is key always…
The next few weeks in London is going to be very difficult, Olympics, difficulties with new people trying their best to protect the greatest number and to keep the peace. Better to cooperate especially if we have a bag, containing a camera and any sort of mineral water not sanctioned by the Olympic Committee. If we want to watch the big screen telly at public events, expect that your favourite mineral water may be confiscated so you can pay an exorbitant price for those endorsed by Lord Coe… And this also applies to sausages and sandwiches with HP brown sauce!
AA Daily Reflections ~ "I ask God [good conscience, wisdom of others to guide me] to decide: July 23 ~ "I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows." [AA Book]
Having admitted my powerlessness and made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand Him, I don't decide which defects get removed, or the order in which defects get removed, or the time frame in which they get removed. I ask God to decide which defects stand in the way of my usefulness to Him and to others, and then I humbly ask Him to remove them."
I cannot feel your pain, I can relate to it because of my experiences. I can feel empathy and not assume your grief is the same. Sharing our message will keep the door open, silence will close it. A one day programme with daily routines which work just for today…
Brilliant chair tonight, all about "courage to change:" For me I had to see my defects: too much ignorance and denial, fear, brave face and ego back then. Just for today improving on shortcomings: courage faith and confidence, to ask for help, to learn, to share and be open honest and willing to change...
Hard wired to learn... Nature and Providence, from child to adult, human sponges soaking up life experience. Thirst and zest, nurture plays its part in how we become who we are. In recovery, humility offers freedom to learn new attitudes and behaviour, let go ego and fear. Courage, faith and confidence growing today...
Truth and forgiveness... Truth sets me free, truth sets you free. In truth we are free, to new choices, to see the big picture, live to good conscience and forgive everything, real and imagined. With truth as our guide, forgiveness is key, and we always live with consequences of our actions day by day...
Publish July 23 2007
DonInLondon - July 23 2007 ‘Day In The Life’
Interdependent is ok- A gentle path - living in the moment
I have started listening to music all over again. it’s a mystery to me why it took so long. Seems like I needed my time to come to terms with loss over the years. And there have always been times of great happiness and then times which dragged on for ages where nothing ever made any sense to me.
Private Investigations - Dire Straights
Another Zeitgeist moment for me. Spirit of another age and life before an even bigger life. And today a so much bigger life than ever anticipated. As we swirl out of control as one life departs, not expired just spiralling away. We may rejoice if that is what we wanted. And I do know the difference between grieving for those dead and those gone and still living, completion and closure is forced either way, yet the living who leave and we know move on can leave us bereft with such an intense pain we might rather give life up completely. A form of dependence we might rather was not there, which fills us with the darkest thoughts. And that awful knowing what they are doing and with someone else..
As life goes on the memories of most times fade somewhere if we are fortunate to find happiness elsewhere. Often though we seem to make another situation like the past and then we cannot make it quite the way it was. No two people are the same and as we encounter the damage of living we often feel the sway of oblivion rather than face what is lost. That was me. Broken over and over. I don’t pity me anymore, and self-pity has been lost along the way. Self-pity is part of grieving and quite necessary.
Some may wish to suppress truth and keep on going as if nothing is happening, the truth is none of us is unscathed if we examine how we deal with the dark times. Suppression and denials are all part of changing and becoming. What we become is predicated on how we deal with the life left. And as we grow up and older we feel keenly sometimes our separateness from the families we encounter. And there are tears for moments we have lost and of course opportunity to be as most may be, conventional.
Odd for Me
I never had a handle on convention, and never grew up in some respects into being a parent. It is not for lack of opportunity to be a family man. More a case of fear somewhere which kept me from commitments and most of all falling deeply and completely into the usual patterns of parenthood and family. I had no key or good examples, and as I grew in times where break ups and unhappiness abounded, the impact for me was to probably avoid these opportunities. In my early courting days, I always fell in love. And somehow I still do from time to time. And now I feel the time has passed by for that family man experience, and yet more experiences beckon as life opens once more..
Having loved and been loved over the years, the match and mismatch which affects times place and letting life take me to family always proved to be poorly timed and latterly more to do with me being broken and needing a long time to repair. If this makes sense, it’s the irony of living longer. We see what we might have been and now we are so different it seems unlikely.
We need as much time as it takes, to overcome our natural desire to gloss over grief. And for me the breakage done and damage was immeasurable. It has taken years to find a path of recovery, and this path is now set. A steady recovery and a facet of life, a big one for this one.
Mending requires a lot of energy and learning to face life as life is, and not hark back to familiar most excellent relationships and then turgid endings which ultimately led to a complete mental breakdown. Once a pattern is set to destruct, it’s as hard to stop as a meteor hitting the earth. And the broken shards of a fragmented life are nothing to build upon.
A Return to normal?
It is true for me, the return to normal is not the old normal, it’s a new normal with every element of the old plus everything I am learning as time goes by.
Mending has been a complete remodelling of behaviour and outlooks, how to deal with the day to day, how to deal with the march of time and what it has done. And what I have done over the years. Maintenance these days is a necessity..
Recent connections to partners along the way reminds me life has just kept on going and the new realities are pretty ok with me. Most are happy and living full and complete lives. There is sad news as more some are no longer alive. And relatively I am still young and they too. It seems easier to let go those who are gone forever, and still feel the draw of love to those who live on and happily elsewhere. Fortunate I am I have no desire to go back. I know my future path is to new beginnings, and happy for it to be so.
Cherish The Past
And I do cherish every loving moment with delightful partners in the past, a wistful glance down memory lane makes me see the patterns of living and my desire to love and be loved. I feel like I would have been a good partner and father had the breaks been different, I accept my singularity today and best it is so.
Love and Loving
I don’t know how things are for anyone but me. I do know there has been much love and loving, cherishing and more. There have been interludes of great loves and passion was as strong can be, and it was hedonistic sometimes I feel. We all have times where there are ample and great moments which make me smile.
Cherishing always, but some loving was meant to be ephemeral as passing ships in the night and times where love felt like it belonged for eternity. The peace found in the arms of another who loves as we do… there are few words where those connections were made and the tryst seemed to be forever. Maybe in some ways this was it, forever and loving as peace brought happy hearts together for precious moments never to be lost, until our last breath and recollections are no more.
Experience of Love
We all have our experiences. And when we have partners and loving, the days are as happy can be. What makes us lose our loves? Never really about blame, more about life choices we can see now have be meant. It’s not fate it seems, just where we and others are, and congruence is not often achieved without intent and specificity.
With my endeavours to be just a simple version of a human with capacity to love and cherish, I feel better for every experience that brings me into this moment of now. Every moment of heartache along the way, every misunderstanding I have made about life, all leads me to cherish each day and honestly, hope does come to mind.
I hope for a simple day of endeavour, making friendships firm, understanding that the path we might wish for ourselves is not what others may have wished or wish for me too. If love ever blossoms to a partnership I can see more clearly and understand more fully how life works these days.
I must smile if only I knew back then what I know now. Not one moment has been wasted I feel these days, either in the highest of highs and or the lowest and most miserable days of grief. And to be alive at all these days makes me smile with a fervent acceptance of possibilities and what age has also done to me. I know and accept my past, accept and live my present, have no clue to tomorrow.
The Ever Present, Present
A good place to hang these days and be cool with life, the ups and downs. There are times of tears for my Sisters recent loss of Christopher, a man of great capacities and her soul mate.
As rare as…
Actually the truth of soul mates is where we can be ourselves, keep on growing and love without prejudice or condition. I love people. I also know people. We will meet real authentic and lovely people along our journey, not all life partners and quite often never on the same wavelength.
We all learn our living by experience and doing. This means for every genuine friendship we will encounter others on different paths and in different places will yield sadness rather than constancy. Some far ahead of us, even though they are more youthful, and many who are stuck old and miserable.
Life grows as we grow, we need understand all seasons of life if we live long enough. If we do not, best we have found the gift of endeavour and lightness in even the darkest days and living each day as it presents.
Mending and Evolution
Sometimes we mend and refine our outlook, sometimes we just evolve as if effortless. These days it’s a mixture. And the only thing I know can make my life develop is now and present in this ever present imperfect moment of now, perfection always an unfinished endeavour!
And thank Nature and Providence, Happenstance and Serendipity for every moment of love and where life took me…
Gift of Life
So easy to judge each moment on its merit when its all of life we may consider as we take a final walk into another time and space beyond this one.
Finally tonight I must share I have not been to a fellowship meeting for two days, so tomorrow I shall go to two, they do me good and my good conscience needs nurture usually daily. A life reclaimed!
July 23rd 2006
- Teach Yourself Co-dependency!
Be My Co Dependent Ya!
We are taught to be co-dependent, we can learn to be independent again What is co-dependent? What is it, inside which leads to interdependent and dependent states. Co-dependency a modern name for some things we all feel might haunt our living and we don’t care to admit. Co-dependency that very difficult and very, very unpleasant realisation
that something in a relationship is uneven, unbalanced and unhealthy. It starts long before we know it and long before we even meet our co-dependents.
To illustrate the context of co-dependency, I use a definition drawn from lives involved in addiction. The tragedy of co-dependency, is addictions are so varied and so prevalent in our society we don’t realise our co-dependent behaviour till long after the penny drops and our denial is in full swing..
“In a relationship where one individual has an addiction, the partner often becomes over-involved in the addict's life. They frequently demonstrate enabling behaviours such as trying to “fix the addict” or to “rescue them.”
Very often the co-dependent person feels deeply responsible for the addicted person. All they talk and think about is the problem their partner is facing. They often also feel it is their job to get their partner to stop the addict from his addiction. They eventually learn that the only person they can change is themselves.
If a person becomes chemically dependent, the partner often makes excuses or covers for their addicted partner. If a man gets drunk and is unable to go to work he might pressure his wife or partner to call in and say he was sick. She also often may clean up things he has broken or even clean an area where he has thrown up in. If he was late paying a bill, she might make excuses for him. This is called Enabling.
The partner that is “enabling” is not responsible for the partner's addictions. However, when the partner cleans up after, or covers for the addict, they are enabling the addict not to face the consequences of their actions. The co-dependent becomes more upset about the problem than the person who has the addiction. It is very hard for an enabler to let the consequences fall on the addict, because usually they are very fearful. Co-dependents can feel terrified of losing the relationship they have with the addict. They know that if their partner gets in trouble at work they may lose their job. Often co-dependents grew up with parents who had addictions. Co-dependency and enabling are often learned behaviours.
Co-dependents need to realize that they cannot make an addict stop his addiction, but they can call on the addict to accept responsibility for their decisions. To love a person who is an addict is not to clean up their messes. The less those around them enable an addict, the more the addict is forced to face their issues. The addict has some hard choices to make.
Many times by over-focusing on the addict's life, the co-dependent is able to ignore his/her own painful issues. There are many support groups available that can help a person to identify ways that they are enabling others. If the co-dependent person is being harmed emotionally or physically, these groups can help them determine whether it is safer to stay and set boundaries or to leave. The support groups can help someone who has no boundaries to come up with good boundaries and then to stick to them. Also, groups like these can help a co-dependent to work on painful issues in their own lives.”
The realisation that we need check out our own behaviour with others is alarming when we know we are good people, we have been schooled correctly in behaviour, our intentions are exemplary, our conduct, well here is the thing, with cod pendency and enabling, our behaviour may appear to be perfectly reasonable and in the beginning supportive, over time however our behaviour is quite the reverse of what we might have hoped and intended, we become a victim of our good nature and kindness.
It is tough on anyone, especially when we have a co-dependent addictive personality in our lives, with every intent to manipulate in their subconscious for they do not do what they do consciously most of the time. They do it as ordinary and don’t see what they do. Their way of life is so nearly ordinary, we mistake often the signs of our enabling and our good natured help. We don’t see the signs till we are awoken, as if from a dream, to realise the good intent we might have is not in any way matched by our co-dependent.
When we as good people, with ordinary intent are placed in situations with co-dependent types, we end up in co-dependency in reality very quickly. We don’t see it, because we don’t have a value system to recognise it, we just feel uneasy, concerned, overly cautious and of course if we love our co-dependent, we are blinded most likely till we feel the guilty and often shaming feeling that we have been responsible and in some way the cause of the dependency taking this unhealthy turn.
In reality we need only see the truth and make good our position, we need not vilify and get angry, we need only modify and understand behaviour. We need not stop loving, we need however to examine our behaviour and our role and our new behaviour to see what can be done. Often we need remove ourselves and stop co-dependency, examine with help and support where we are and what to do next. There is in my opinion no easy way to face these issues. In my experience, which is limited to my own co-dependency from time to time, my behaviour and actions are seen with the continued benefit of hindsight. Hindsight helps me see my part, helps me see my choices and it
does not help me stop what has already happened or the manipulations either I or my co-dependent may have made. Recovering addicts from whatever substance are excellent targets for co-dependency, simply and most often because recovery leads to understanding around powerlessness and behaviours associated with control and manipulation.
The good recovery student can often fall victim to practiced and power using addicted types who can obscure simple truths and choices. Dependency is likely to thrive in fellowships and groups where recovery and rehabilitation enable the co-dependent to learn and use more effective behaviours of control and power manipulation, often subtle and often with their desired results. Good recovery students who had a predisposition to caring and support, well like me, if you read this, will feel the foolishness of hindsight from time to time.
Don’t get mad, merely become a wiser person and more careful person, decide your next steps with care. You need not go into deep painful self-reflection, you need only seek help and support wherever it may be from those in the know. And preferably not your co-dependent!
It is not easy, but gets easier. It might mean facing the obvious with hindsight, feelings of love and thinking judgments we might wish we had never made. But that is life, and we might adjust to reality as we can. Our most important next steps are to come out of denial, that we have found ourselves co-dependent, even if it seemed right and good. It is better to see how things really are and get good with good behaviour. Remember, our co-dependent will be busy, and very wilful, passing the blame and covering up and being the secret enabler of their work. They will use every device to keep their behaviour under wraps or make it so unpleasant to let out the truth and paint us as some kind of master manipulator, we may find our reputation and our outlook sullied and corrupted.
Better to let the masks drop and face consequences and all that other stuff we prefer under the carpet. We don’t enjoy being made to look foolish or be manipulated. We can only make the tears and tantrums of others owned by them, and not share in the awfulness of continued sadness.
My choices, now and in future are to walk away and draw a line in the sand. As co-dependency will suck us back in, with our good intent and outlook, when the problem need remain where it belongs, simply not inside us.
We need also to learn from our co-dependency as we make good our outlook again, and see the errors in our thinking. We make our errors because we most often have love in our hearts and the best of intentions.
Hence the road to hell is paved most often with good intentions, and we only see our folly as we near the end of the road. We are best served finding new roads, better signposts, and definitely letting our support mechanisms, people and good sense help us back on to our
path. The wisdom in all this, keep away from blame and get support to understand our situation. Don’t let it drag on and when you know it’s what it is, make your choices, or the result is to be dragged down and not to support someone who will need more adequate help and support than we can give.
If you still love your co-dependent, well then, it’s really important to get perspective and get help. This type of situation merely deteriorates with no intervention, I don’t know of any which right themselves without help.
Denial is our key to on-going co-dependency, better to let out the truth and get the help wherever it may be. Avoid blame if we can. And work through our feelings with help. Feelings are our truth and we need acknowledge them. How we deal with our feelings and our understandings is best supported. For we need to acknowledge our feelings and help ourselves recover from these experiences. We are human, we are of nature, our feelings are real and cannot be thought away or made different until we are ready to let them change where feelings may go. How we react is our decision, our choices and best made with help and not in the passion evoked by our truth. We can
feel our truth and respond with due care for our own living. We need be mightily careful in our feelings and their expression, we need put our own house in order when these events happen, and let others find their own path as choices are theirs, not ours.
Modern psychology is helpful and a hindrance. I find wisdom from those with years of experience in my fellowship best able to support me as I unravel my own mysterious co-dependent nature, when I encounter others so gifted. Being a nice guy has led to many instances of co-dependency in my life. And admissions of co-dependency are better made, so I can see my future conduct and relationships with others work out for the good and not for just others good in future. Life is too short to be swept under the carpet, the mountain of woe undermine was immense, and is still being swept up.
And this old fool is wiser and accepting, and definitely moving along with gentle good intent towards another destination…
Fra Giovanni's "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
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