July 28 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 7 Courage To Change Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "those who still suffer… AA is not the only way…" It would be unhelpful to believe that the principles, the twelve steps and twelve traditions will work for everyone. There are other ways which may suit many other people aiming to be sober and find a life in recovery. Long may it be so! For me fellowship has provided a way to keep sane and living life one day at a time…
Video For Today:
The twelve steps and twelve traditions are all about emotional and spiritual well-being. Emotional and spiritual well-being is clear for me as an individual, my feelings working in the moment and I am able to cope with reality with a great deal of help when needed. And step seven is all about humility and learning life one day at a time. I have found no other program or fellowship or continuous process which makes this possible and always helps the new person find their unique path in life…
And step seven is the humility to keep on learning how to have courage to change when needed, faith in what works for you as an individual and sustaining self-esteem and confidence in the most troublesome times when life seems like life is beyond living. Yes we do want to be happy joyous and free, at the same time it is only sustained by being open honest and willing for today and every day. I as an individual am supported whenever I ask for help inside or outside fellowship…
Olympics! I took heart watching the opening ceremonies on TV. A very British and eclectic opening celebrating the Olympians and the history of modern Britain. The hardship, the toil, the inspirational battle and dogged determination and the sacrifice taking millions out of serfdom and industrial slavery where a few are rewarded and the majority get by. Not lost as a message for the Britain of today, still struggling with equality and yet humble enough to keep trying every single day… I was moved, every emotion including anger and resentment, to happy joyful reminders about how life works for anyone and everyone today…
The 2012 Olympics, a celebration of excellence. The drive and ambition, the grit and determination and a powerful routine year after year. Those who strive succeed on the journey and just a few make it to the top by being the best on the day awarded for their prowess. A desire to be as perfect as possible is a reason to celebrate and also a cautionary concern. In the 1990s, for me a decade in the gym, stronger and more powerful in that decade was all part of my addiction as was work and relationships, oh and of course, alcohol, now I am good enough just for today and still celebrate the endeavour of everyone involved…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Step 7 Those who still suffer: Let us resist the proud assumption that since God has enabled us to do well in one area we are destined to be a channel of saving grace for everybody.[AA Comes of age]
A.A. groups exist to help alcoholics achieve sobriety. Large or small, firmly established or brand-new, speaker, discussion or study group has but one reason for being: to carry the message to the still-suffering alcoholic. The group exists so that the alcoholic can find a new way of life, a life abundant in happiness, joy, and freedom. To recover, most alcoholics need the support of a group of other alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope. Thus my sobriety, and our program's survival, depends on my determination to put first things first."
Meetings are all about sobriety. We share, and we learn from each other. Attraction is “what we see is what we get” and find what will work, and we are so diverse and rich in experience. Promotion suggests a fix, a guarantee. Sober today, contingent on our spiritual condition…
Those who still suffer... Intolerance and hate formed from a superior outlook or an inferior outlook, judging the world as we are judged? Valuing diversity, every life, to love and be loved, to be useful. In recovery and sobriety more able and making progress, we can support and challenge and make good in our actions today..
Step 7 Faith, courage, confidence and truth just for today. Always in the now our fear, a desire to cover up and put on a brave face, ego to hide guilt shame and resentments will challenge our spiritual progress. Spiritual being the truth as it is, not self-belief or opinion, so simple yet so complicated? Always for today...
Publish July 28 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’
Indeed elemental matters. A Long day and much done today. Highlights seeing my psychiatrist, my bike has been vandalised some more, a meeting in Soho, a repair to the bike and a meeting and seeing my Sister tonight.
My psychiatric assessment is good. I would have been discharged from the service at the Chelsea and Westminster hospital had it all been simple and straightforward. For the last few months I have experienced normal reactions and responses to life as it may be. That is my reactions and responses to life events has been fairly predictable and normal.
I am feeling life as is, as a normal person feels life. And this is due to the medications not only for diabetic treatment, the pain relief for neuropathy and the anti-depressants for clinical depression are all in synchronicity. This means in effect I have got on to a normal playing field. My reactions and responses to happy moments and to grief over the recent death of my Sisters partner and a friend to me for 20 years is quite normal for a person in my situation.
That’s the good news. The more difficult parts of this situation are not taking suggested medications for pain relief, as the ones now are adequate to a degree and also help with depression. Medications are monitored and as things are there are some I did not take over recent months to do with diabetic and cholesterol management. Some are strongly contra indicated, so there is some need to ensure that each element of my regime is fully documented and made clear as each specialist group has one purpose, to solve their part of my life puzzle!
So because I followed the advice of my psychiatrist I have avoided some contra indicated medications being taken at the same time and a complete disruption to my physical and mental wellbeing.
These things happen. And at least there is no harm done. A relief for me and a strong sense of luck as times could have been quite different in recent months.
So I guess for me the path is quite simple don’t change anything as suggested. I also realise that my psychiatrist appears to view AA favourably in a clinical sense as it provides fellowship and connection to reality. People in AA may strongly agree or disagree but the evidence so appears to support AA and the fellowship as a vehicle for rehabilitation and on-going support. I endorse this view, but my caveat is this was a discussion and not a formal view from my specialist. It is anecdotal, and although it can be challenged ad infinitum I have only good things to say about AA and my recovery.
I went to a meeting close to worlds end in Chelsea. And listened to a step meeting discussion about step five, which is sharing our inventory of life experiences with another human being. In essence I am a fan of the steps and traditions of AA. They provide me with a framework to understand and live life. There is much lively discussion about AA and the steps and traditions and there was good input from a well-seasoned old timer with decades of sobriety.
We all have views on keeping sober and make good use of meetings sponsors friendship, the steps of change and the traditions of AA.
Our seasoned and very well old timer shared their personal views on recovery. And it really comes down to learning what works and sticking to it.
There is no need to follow blindly, there is a need to find our own path of living. There is are as many views on steps and traditions as there are people in our fellowship, and yet it works as we work out how to live again. There is no doctrine, there is a one need and that is to find a way to live sober by the day. Everything is optional in AA, and when anyone anywhere finds a path to sober living, let them be and let them live. It was refreshing and quite clear that fellowship, meetings, having connection to others who make life work in the day is the foundation.
As to spiritual it is as we learn to understand what works best. And of course for me that is truth, and simply letting people find their way to live in the moment. And not drink a day at a time.
The principles and the fellowship is safer when we find our feet and our way to live. We can find mentors, friends and a network of people who are like minded. We need not be bamboozled or discouraged by others attempts to persuade us to their outlook. That is not fellowship. Indeed I felt our old timer was supporting a view that we find our path to life again and get on with living. Sober we have too much to do, drunk we can do nothing but drink.
Actually for me and this old timer who shared common sense, whether we believe or not, it’s still personal choice as we may or may not come to understand God. They struck me as clear and honest in their outlook and approach, same as me, although I am merely a novice.
So the fellowship remains strong as people find their path, we are all equal and we are all there for one purpose, to stay sober and make life work again. So refreshing I am pleased tonight. I sometimes have felt awkward saying I have not come to an understanding about God. And have got as far as utilising good conscience as my guide and in the step work I do. It was an agreeable night indeed.
I have just come home from seeing my sister, it’s always good to see her. And like the last few weeks we have all been devastated by the loss of her partner so quickly and tragically. Sharing about this deep sadness for me as one step back, and being there for my sister is courtesy of very highly trained professionals in the National Health Service, and of course Alcoholics Anonymous.
Friendship and Fellowship
I never expected or thought I would experience the level of friendship connection, support and care people have given these past few years. A reflection of what is good about AA, and in my experience it brings out the best in most of us.
AA is like all walks of life, we are making progress and far from perfect. We can encounter friends we will want for life, people we will care about always, and some we may wonder at daily. Humans are humans, we are gifted when we find sanctuary and practical help to keep sober for this one day, and then start over again tomorrow.
Last year, I suspect I was still very depressed and my outlook was quite fearful as my journal reads so. Fear we do come to understand has its place, but not all day every day. We make transitions when time affords.
AA fixes nothing, offers a way to mend ourselves with some support and fellowship. What a gift…
July 28 2006 All About Last Year
Our Spiritual Being - Imaginations Gift
Discussions over Tea and Biscuits
We humans forget our nature and nurture. We are so caught in our present life and experience we forget how our minds work. We have nature which provides patterns for our physical and emotional wellbeing. And we have nurture which patterns much of our spiritual being.
Our spiritual being..
The view that spirit is a prime element of reality. This is a wide and varied subject of life. So wide and varied, we in our fellowship will have as many answers to what spiritual is as there are members of our fellowship.
We humans from some time back in the dark of history fused our imaginations and beliefs and drew up all manner of creations to cover the meaning of our lives. From simple procreation to an affinity with Nature, and a God of our own understanding. And for many the purpose of life is beyond our mortal now, that we in some way go beyond this life into something else, that our purpose is a greater journey than the one we have already.
I don’t know why after a meeting just a few hours back, I went with some other fellows for some coffee and we ended up in deep debate. As is classic for us in our fellowship, we tend to dissect and pull apart anything connected to belief and the beyond, and for many in our fellowship, the notion of a real God and higher power is integral to continued wellbeing.
I have no argument with any belief which enables we humans to function and make sense our world and live to the good. In fact any belief is better than the insanity we experience before our recovery from addiction and ego driven insanity.
And anything which helps those in recovery understand that their illness is not a self-inflicted disease, then we are helping and not hindering progress to a worthy life. The same is true for those with any addiction picked up along the way. Addiction is a disease of the mind, and a disease is not actually something we chose to have, it’s something when we know it, we prefer to keep in recovery and not active and chronic.
For many the guilt and shame of addiction kills them as they battle with their willpower. Prejudice causes more deaths than any other cause when it comes to addiction, for prejudice is ignorance. And addiction is a disease.
And when I find our Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues set on a course of higher self accountability, especially with legalised addictions like smoking and drinking, then offer their prejudice to take away recovery treatments and palliative care for state sponsored addictions, there is something quite wrong in their thinking and doing. They too see the madness and yet put the blame on us as consumers of their sponsorship.
Even our most gifted politicians and exponents of living, they act with prejudice against those afflicted with addictions and don’t see their thinking errors as prejudice and ignorance clouds their narrow judgment of the human condition. Ego driven fuckers to the last is how it seems to me. Blaming the addict for their consumerism, and their broken living. Now that is prejudice prime and culpable by them.
Anyway we fellows sitting with the heat of the day, watched the world go by. And the world was full of beauty today. We saw our gender preferences walking by and as with any who sit and stare, imagination takes hold. This is normal human behaviour, gawping some may call, others just smile at emerging appreciation, others find it galling that nature makes us so. Or worse our society and its values places much on superficial and not enough on spiritual.
So we talked of spiritual matters in between our people watching and we talked of what God is or might be, or is not as there were those without their God of choice, and there are the basic types like me, who are happy for any kind of help to keep ourselves well, be it spiritual or imaginary.
What we are able to imagine, what we believe and what our true purpose in living is, in my estimation is to make the best of each day and what we experience, to keep our connections to this reality open and functional as we can. To be aware that we can experience all manner of distortion and still keep a trust inside us to our good nature and making life work as well as it can.
Is this so difficult and so hard. In my case it has been as life can be as miserable can be, as my imagination can grip me, and reality can really be as bad as can be. We are all gifted with emotions and feelings we might enjoy or hold to deepest of sadness, and sometimes we cannot change how we feel. The biggest error of judgment can be we try think our way out of feelings, when time itself is maybe the only answer and our sobriety over time.
When we stop trying to bend life to fit our preferences, when we stop imagining how we might make life turn out, when we stop our nature to force our outlook to our own ends and experience the reality of our encounters, we make a better day for ourselves, for we access truth of reality as it is and as others may view. Or similarly as we know even whole Nations will distort truth and make their outlook the primary source for all to encounter. As we have seen so many times in history, as religious and political doctrines have taught us, reality is certainly easy to bend to the will of mankind. And reality is forever changed in faith and belief.
I guess it’s the fear of endings and mortality which drives our conscious contact with a God of our choosing and letting good conscience drift to the side. For in good conscience I feel able to report, nobody actually knows.
Imagination and leaps of faith and higher powers, things greater than us do actually exist in Nature. We need not apply our own concoctions to the mixture of living.
And spiritual for me, this do it yourself metaphysic is simply making good our connections to now, this present, the ever present, present. And our mystical natures where we examine our faith and our purpose and we argue the case through faith in an afterlife. Surely its worthy of debate and for us to explore, and at the same time keep our feet firmly on the grounding of life. For without our living and in all good conscience, our metaphysical debates and God like connections have no meaning at all. For we undermine nature and our existence in the process.
Which is why to give up life for a religious difference raises our foolishness to a level beyond anyone’s imagination if we argue our case to its end. And for those who fight and make war for their beliefs in a God of their choosing, the payments made are greater than any life giver would exact, except mankind of course in their insanity and I guess profanity and devaluation of any living persons value and life.
Courage fortitude, convictions, faith and humility, our mixtures and choices so often made in turmoil, it is no wonder we put ourselves in harm’s way to make a point, and to who do we make it. Simply not to a God, but to others like us. No there is a madness and driven by ego, pride and profanity against our own kind, I find unconscionable. And in good conscience find we humans are worse for our intellect and imagination, when we apply it through our ego and will.
Eternity will help us as generations slide by, and we get better and more homogenised. Till then war and discomfort and all that we are, we need all our human qualities to see our way through our prejudice to the one threat we have in our world. Ourselves.
And maybe some of my fellow travellers left off on the debate, for their defending of their beliefs got in the way. It’s easier to believe in something we are not sure of, than often to challenge and enter the debate.
And for many who get confused as we talk, it’s the challenge of faith which makes them get mad and hateful, for there is safety in knowing and believing in God, when reality offers our true contradiction when life is so bad. And what of those humans as history tells us, who live in awful times of horror and never find peace in this life? We cannot somehow accept that their lot was worse, and had no meaning at all.
Is it our human need and desire, to have a system of balance beyond here and now? As we know in our fellowship our times is just lengthened by one day at a time. And why then should we worry about immortal and spiritual at all? It is a difficult part of living to adjust to many truths and sometimes some magic helps us get by. And so why not? I ask in my ignorance as if it were so, because when we get dogmatic and stuck in our ways, we defend old things familiar and hold on when we might let go to our good.
The good of living is in the journey, the spiritual touch of reality is my preference to date. Of God and Nature and a Universe we inhabit, we are blessed indeed when we get a good day. And I know the reverse over years and years, so a good day is a pleasure and joy to be experienced as can be.
We need no dogma, we need no undermining, we need not judge others beliefs if they feel the benefit and don’t harm others in the process. And the sooner we get better with our good conscience the better life will turn out for more of humanity.
So simple its seems yet we driven to extremes and hold others to account for the simplest of differences. it’s a sad reflection that old thinking and distortions place life threatening impacts on much of the world. Old thinking and majestic egos of history are indeed emulated and perpetuated over time. And our progress is slow and never to perfection, although perfections drive humanity.
Let go old unhelpful prejudices, if we can determine them, and let our good conscience thrive where it will. And if by happenstance our good living is working then if there is truly a judgment day coming, we need not fear it our be worried about it. Unless we have judged others and hindered their progress to a better living here and now..
And nothing can change history, or give redemption sought from a power that made us, for our distortions and corruptions are of nature and good conscience, not in their defence. So we might do well to behave consistent with and carefully towards our good and a greater good of all, with equality and rarity of prejudice we have accumulated through time and need expunge.
I truly believe redemption is in the day, our way to the good and behaving as we learn our good conscience. And forgiveness is from within, as without does require a power greater than any human and still arguably busy on other projects in their Universe. What else would explain their forgetfulness of us? And of course our human ego.. We are insignificant outside our world and our imagination...
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