July 25 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 7 Courage To Change Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "those who still suffer…" The AA pledge, "I'm responsible when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of AA to be there, and for that I'm responsible." The hand of AA? Sometimes it may be my hand in friendship and fellowship, most often it will be another and the many hands of everyone in fellowship helping those into recovery…
Video For Today:
When I first heard the AA pledge, I'm responsible, it made me sit up and listen carefully in the early days of my recovery. Like a firebrand, I wanted to be there and be helpful. I read the books, started talking the talk and then walking and living the steps in recovery. I suddenly realised in those early days, I could not accommodate every type of new person. I learned quickly each person hears their story of experience strength and hope from the person who shares it, it could be me, usually and most often it is you…
Something bigger than me? Yes, fellowship, experience strength and hope shared by everyone accommodates the newcomer hopefully, sooner rather than later. The newcomer can be confused by the sharing of many, and then finds someone who is so similar in their experience that they identify the similarities and the possibilities of recovery. I keep learning from others every single day of my life, one day at a time and hopefully for quite a time to come…
The suffering alcoholic! We all suffer and we all share our experience strength and hope. It is not a one way ticket to Utopia or the Elysium fields. It is trudging the happy road of destiny and knowing that trudging is not a bad outcome, trudging means we are in the moment and able to experience our emotional and spiritual journey. Able to feel life as it is, know our emotions are working in the moment of now and just for today…
I have been feeling better the last couple of days, warmth and sunshine. I don't stay out in it too long and try for a suntan as in the olden days. I just simply enjoy the warmth and the Sun… The roads around me are being closed down the cycle races and the Olympics and it's exciting. I hope I can get out to see what is going on on my bicycle. What probably matters most is going to meetings and enjoying the sharing. Good bad and ugly, joyful or sad, it is life today as we feel it in the moment of now…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Those who still suffer... For us, if we neglect those who are still sick, there is unremitting danger to our own lives and sanity. [12&12]
I know the torment of drinking compulsively to quiet my nerves and my fears. I also know the pain of white-knuckled sobriety. Today, I do not forget the unknown person who suffers quietly, withdrawn and hiding in the desperate relief of drinking. I ask my Higher Power to give me His guidance and the courage to be willing to be His instrument to carry within me compassion and unselfish actions. Let the group continue to give me the strength to do with others what I cannot do alone."
I need remind myself when I get angry and resentful, most likely my expectations of myself and others is too high. If my or others behaviour seems to be the worst, it is always the best it can be in that moment. Forgiving, humility and learning offers progress and never perfection…
Our principles, the twelve steps start to become second nature as we learn how to relate to others with a sober head. From insanity to sanity, sometimes quickly, often slowly the steps work when we ask for help and just for today…
Supporting each other... No matter how long sober, from a day to a decade, fellowship is about unity, service and recovery. We are all on the same page, we live in this one day and experience life as it is. Difficult or easy, with help we keep sober, we are all responsible in this unique moment of now...
Courage to change... Twelve steps to live life with new attitudes and behaviour. Courage in adversity is not new to us, faith that we can change takes time. And each new day offers fresh challenges. We are unique and authentic in recovery, each on our own path, learning who we are one day at a time...
Publish July 25 2007
DonInLondon July 25 2007 ’Day in the Life’ Serenity
Seems like today has been fairly relaxed in many ways. After yesterday being pretty hard with diabetic upheavals in the day and a meeting which in retrospect was good but not quite where I felt right overall, today is better.
Journal entries and the Videos
It would be true to say the writing I may do on any day is not quite the same in content as the videos I usually do when I get home from a fellowship meeting. Somehow the written word has a more considered and slow reveal of the day, as the video comes straight off the top of what is in my mind.
July 24 is a day for good memories these days, it was not always so. A significant partners birthday, and a significant part of hard times. When we have a double hit of grief as I did in 1991, it can be overwhelming, and I know without doubt I did not cope well with the death of my Dad and then the end of a very meaningful and I felt loving relationship.
I look back now with kindness and having let go some time back, at least I thought I had, it is true those times shaped the next few years and eventually as the last thing left to crumble was a career, there was nothing to stop me heading for oblivion.
And looking back, I lost the plot on living at all. It is no one’s fault I have to share these days, it’s just as life turned out and I had no coping mechanisms to stop the halt of oblivion and losing a grip on reality.
Survival to Serenity
For some years survival at all was all I seemed able to do and then the collapse into drink followed, drink had always been there as a back stop and in my living it was a key to letting out desperate feelings I thought at the time. And to an extent it worked, and yet as all things utilised to temporary relief from pain, the medication stops working and we are left with a thirst which is never quenched and suppression is not even an issue. We are just plain lost to life and living.
Serenity is a bit difficult with hurt so deep and a loss of sanity. We are simply vessels which process alcohol and live in abject misery. We are far past any self-pity and prefer oblivion as much as we can make and then oblivion gives way to loss of all will to live. That is the truth in my case.
If only does not apply to human wreckage, and these past few years have taught me over and over that when we get a break and can at least find some respite, we may have a chance to find recovery. My chances in the last chance saloon were well and truly miserable as every time in early attempts to put life back together failed without any help sought by me and a deep resentment towards my weakness and disease.
There were plenty of buts and plenty of moments of self will. And self-will and willpower were killing me. Self Will and willpower cripple us eventually as we live in the grip of control, and most often end up hateful and dry drunk. Self-will is also laced with ego and self-pity. All necessary ingredients to survival, but not from addiction and not from living a full life with some serenity some of the time.
Elysium - a life beyond wildest dreams
I will probably share more about this life beyond my wildest dreams another night.
Today and Tonight
Working backwards in my day. Tonight has been very good for me. I spent time with a newcomer, and heard words from those I have got to know in recent years. It’s good to know I belong somewhere, and get a sense of identity and purpose from being in fellowship.
I also shared time with a friend at lunchtime and felt better for getting out when all I really needed was rest, and rest came as I did not try bike into central London and get stuck somewhere. My natural urge is to do as much as I can and know the consequences were risky trying to go too far. And yesterday was no picnic with two hypo’s.
Much traffic in emails and a closing of my face book account for now, it serves no purpose for me presently, although I can see the social connections it offers in a way for many not included in social networks.
All connections via the internet serve us well if we are in a good space! Same as face to face and any other form of connections we develop. And sometimes it’s hard to work out what is good or less good.
Time helps in all these matters.
So for today I feel ok as can be, very off on the diabetic regime, but it will come back, and just for today it’s been as good as can be.
Minor miracles each day a person with one disease which takes daily maintenance and stays with recovery. The other two I have are as difficult and with the help of fellowship I usually keep to the good as good may manifest. Not as I was back in the day, more so and better in these singular days of recovery.
My diary of last year still seems a little fraught and turgid. I was less able to forgive myself and anyone back then. It is a long lesson learned over and over. No short cuts or fixing, no panaceas, and definitely no simple ways to simple truths.
We learn as we go, or perish in our attempts to find the keys to living, so easily we sensitive types are we need keep a weather eye on a daily basis or slide back to ego’s drift. No me today, and just for today.. love Is all we need
July 25 2006 Journal Last Year
supplement to main entry Item:
We need all seek good Counsel
What a life we have, we are busy in our doing of life. We can be happy and we can be sad. We can be well balanced and off balance. We are never really even across all our living. And while we are happy on some things inevitably we are sad on others.
It is easy to forget we are just human and equal to our current
level of living. And we can be so expert at our living, we think we know
everything. Or we might be the opposite and afraid of what we know and in some way fearful of our living.
Rest easy! We all feel this way from time to time. We can be on
top of all things we think, or we can be in turmoil. We can be so caught up in
the moment, we don’t see clearer perspective on what is going on.
These days I realise I need outside help to help me check out my living. I do this with counsel from whatever source might seem appropriate. I choose someone separate from me, not my friend or my supporter, just someone who has the good of good conscience and wisdom to help me see my life with fresh understanding.
I don’t have a priest, or a doctor or a close relative who does this for me, and actually I prefer it so. It is someone with knowledge and skill, it is someone who has no vested interest beyond the wellbeing of folk in general. And this independent view helps me form better perspectives and
Our ability to mistake the way life is and our ability to succeed and or fail at various elements of living is just good for one day. I take heart to have independent counsel available and listening, and not just on my side, just able to ask questions and help me make good choices in good conscience.
Our living is so complicated, we can get by on our own and make a better fist of living with a little perspective not driven by us. We all need our “mentors” I guess, our wise person, and wisdom is from experience and not from our imagination. Were it ever so?
Just for Today
Hot Climate Hot Heads - Inclusion and Exclusion
Is it a climate thing for us in the UK. When the weather goes hot, do we find our passion? Or do we find our hot headed reactions as our temperament is suited to cooler conditions? In my local village, the villagers have definitely been a little restless. I started my day in the early hours where coolness and quiet helped with balance and words to express difficult days and weeks, where I definitely was out of balance and off centre.
It seems we must encounter times like this where we have events and connections which do definitely disturb our routine and happy approach to living.
I set off this morning to an early fellowship meeting and got there early enough to stop off for a coffee in a local café Coffee Republic. I smiled and read a card I keep about me. it’s a card which describes what I might do today. The contents of the card might appear altruistic, and quite quaint, sentimental and even tacky to some. To me though these words are quite useful and way to approach any old day so record them here for all to see. My ‘mantra’ courtesy of my fellowship suggests:
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appal me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today I will be happy. Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my 'luck' as it comes, and fit myself to it.
Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don't want to do - just for the exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt, they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.
Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticise not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.
Just for today I will have a programme. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour sometime, I will try and get a better perspective of my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.
It was strange to pull out and read, I have not read this card for months, although I have posted it on the web several times. It’s my internal reminder how to make the day work, even when it’s not working too well and make the best of there is to do.
I went on to my fellowship meeting and this ironically became the subject of our morning debate. Just for today when the world is seemingly against me, how do I or we make the best of what there is.
And the meeting was full of sadness and anger, for most days the Dads or Fathers and Mothers who are separated from their family and especially their children were very upset. To be divorced and coping with the loss of their loved ones, to have their children out of reach and out of their care.
I did not offer anything to the debate as they were quite wrapped up in all this. I don’t have children and don’t suffer as they do. Yet like any villager I do suffer what is behind their focus. Being alone and from those I would love in family, being separate and to some extent excluded from large parts of my history because of events and circumstances. But in my case my acceptance of exclusion is best most likely in another way to the torment of blood relations and their exclusivity. I am lucky, for my family are accepting of me in recovery, and in essence have given me opportunity to build bridges as best I can and in time and when recovery enables me.
Inclusion and Exclusion
This thing in us, where we prefer inclusion and love to exclusion and no love. We in our fellowship are as sensitive to these matters as any in all the villages of the world. Villagers get unloved and excluded for all sorts of reasons and most often for unacceptable behaviour.
In our fellowship as we recover, we sometimes forget the exclusion of us had to be so, for we were quite mad before recovery, and while we can find love and forgiveness in our fellowship, we have absolutely no right to be included where we fucked up before. And why? Because that is nature and human fears.
In essence while just for today I can deal with including and excluding, and just for today others decide whether to include or exclude me, I accept my rights and others rights to make their choices on evidence and behaviour and preference.
We cannot neither make others love us or trust us as we have the same problem with others. We learn to do these things.
There are not rights when it comes to inclusion and love, and there are not rights when it comes to exclusion or hate.
It is just how things are today.
As I have recently excluded another from my village, and they most likely are happy, today for me is fine and for them too. And really when we have an idea that we have automatic rights, we are fucked up and unequal in our thinking. We need earn our place and enjoy inclusion because we behave consistent with inclusion. These agreements are only good just for today, for tomorrow I may fuck up again or change my mind. Or others might do the same. So in my world just for today, it’s simply a way of working out my connecting, not God given, not tacit or law given, most likely earned because I have behaved and found love and inclusion where I am. And as we live we find we will be excluded where we are not welcome, and that is fact. We might remind ourselves
Just for today, I will do something useful, and be included where I am invited, not resent where I am excluded and accept inclusion may never come my way again. In accepting my situation and freedom to live, just for today I will be agreeable, love the world as it may one day love me
Seems easy? It’s never easy, until we get our right size and equal to life, and that happens just one day at a time.
And today in my the evening meeting, I met new fellows and old fellows and fellows who really enjoy me, and fellows I had not seen for a couple of years. We were able without any fear of exclusion to get on with being included, sharing some words and some wisdom, as well as some complete bollocks and sadness. So in balance we found a touch of friendship, love and inclusion in a world which has little time often excludes and fucks us up. What a benefit any fellowship can be to us, sober and tortured as normality will always do when we isolate and feel alone and unconnected.
And I smile as some villagers ring my bell, and make me feel more myself and a man, in a man sense. Most of all I value wisdom friendship and inclusion, and knowing the difference with a clear head and open heart from my experiences...
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