July 6 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 7 Courage To Change Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "that evil and corroding thread… Fear!" Having numbed myself for years against any notion of failure, that in the end I would be the last person standing, always willing to own up to mistakes on the way and put them right. And then I burned out, sought oblivion and was lost in desolation. I did not understand real fear until my last days of drinking and first days of sobriety…
Always better to have courage to change, faith in being truthful about what is going on and being confident in not knowing the answers today. On my own, I may sink or swim, at the same time I am limited by what I know. Fellowship opened the door to humility, that it is okay to keep learning anything and everything today. If I isolate and don't say what fears me up and makes me fierce in covering up, I am on the back step, rather than a simple step in saying, "I need find out what's going on and asking for help from anyone, and it’s okay if they don't know just like me for today…" Humility offers faith and asking for help to do the next right thing…
A wonderful meeting last night, an honest chair which reminded me of old times and where some of the rot set in for me. Home brewing was encouraged on an industrial scale at home. I enjoyed it. I used to make "Airfix models, planes and boats" I enjoyed making them, and the glue, the special paint with turps and white spirit, oil painting, using petrol to help keep down the mole problem in the gardens… There was always something attractive about the smell and the impact it had on fixing me… Just like my dad! I can laugh at these memories and understand my history. And the joy of today, even when it's complicated is beautifully harsh, brilliantly desolate and somewhere in between I can live in the moment of now…
The wisdom tooth appointment with the dentist, a local anaesthetic thank God… Parsons Green the location, all sorts going on and setting up for a festival tomorrow and the rain will be torrential most likely… Undeterred people making plans! Parsons Green has beautiful trees and plentiful grass lush with moisture. A chance encounter as another cried out my name and I saw a wonderful person from our fellowship with their offspring. A gentle chat, marvelling at life as it is today. Letting go fear of chance encounters and having faith to be myself and seeing another being exactly themselves, that corrosive thread of fear was less so in the moment of now…
Yesterday reminds me, I can have a small life where my personality traits get exaggerated with fear, hiding away and putting on a brave face from time to time when I go out, and my ego separating me from the truth of life. Or I can have a big life, even when I can't get out and about. The big life is letting go fear, the brave face and ego which imprisons me. Step seven, asking for help on a daily basis, building faith and wisdom as I learned from others and they share with me what works, and confidence that it is not just about survival, it is about real difficult and absolutely amazing life one day at a time. Confidence grows with humility and never having to know the answer to anything, and accepting it is okay to find out one day at a time…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Identifying fear... 05 Jul ~ The chief activator of our defects has been self-centred fear. [12&12]
When I feel uncomfortable, irritated, or depressed, I look for fear. This “evil and corroding thread” is the root of my distress: Fear of failure; fear of others’ opinions; fear of harm, and many other fears. I have found a Higher Power, who does not want me to live in fear and, as a result, the experience of A.A. in my life is freedom and joy. I am no longer willing to live with the multitude of character defects that characterized my life while I was drinking. Step Seven is my vehicle to freedom from these defects. I pray for help in identifying the fear underneath the defect, and then I ask God to relieve me of that fear. This method works for me without fail and is one of the great miracles of my life in Alcoholics Anonymous."
DonInLondon 2004 - 2011
Endarkenment and Enlightenment, steps six and seven. Defects step 6: Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Shortcomings step 7: Faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, prudence and temperance. Letting go the dark, letting in the light…
In the problem back then I had an excess of darkness in my life, today and contingent on asking for help, confidence may grow to lighter experiences. And living to good conscience improves my emotional and spiritual life today, my feelings fit with reality in the moment of now…
Fear v Faith? ~ Ego v Esteem? All our feelings have their practical value. To what extent? Prolonged extremes of feelings wear us down. Denial when shocks occur is part of a process of acceptance. The unacceptable truth becomes the truth of now, how we live today. Fellowship, in recovery we know our feelings, trust to truth as it unfolds today...
Identifying fear... Step 6 and Step 7, from extremes in step 6, to finding balance in step 7. From living in fear, hiding with a brave face and false pride, to feeling the fear and having faith, courage and esteem to live the experience, open honest and willing, to share and trust to truth, love and wisdom, we learn more of who we are today...
July 6 2007
Trial & Error - DonInLondon ‘Day In the Life’
Always a learner and sometimes I feel a bit slow. After last night and a lot of reflection I realise how unhelpful gossip is and it can be life threatening. Gossip can contain just enough grains of possibility to really undermine the truth and blacken character. This is something we in fellowship know all too well.
Often as anyone can attest Kangaroo courts are not about justice, they are more often about those who fear something and utilise every lever to take the focus away from them. Witch hunts often yield nothing but failure as those with power or influence jockey in some way to be top. Top of what? I have no clue sometimes as the rewards for malfeasance are often what those who try discover, alienation, exclusion and fear.
Yes, error in fact, then developed into themes which can keep people in the wrong place for long periods of time. And for me when I started to examine the sources of some awful half-truths they generate from elsewhere and not me. And somehow they became something or other I then utilised much to my chagrin as if I had absolute de facto truth. Now I know the truth by coincidence today, I am heartily relieved where things are now.
Bitterness and other peoples stuff is of no use to me, and evidence of living and experience inform me far better than gossip and conjecture. Indeed conjecture and gossip have hurt innocent bystanders and made life difficult.
I am of course not relating the particulars because it serves no one and certainly not me.
Always a learner because every day informs us what is going on, and we need pay attention. And life is too short for gossip and frankly useless debate about things imagined and not things apparent and evidence from life experience.
Strands and Scant knowledge
So easy to be persuaded by one thing or another. And in truth if we were all held to account every day cumulatively on errors and mistakes, we would go backwards and not forwards.
Yet Countries and Humans
Hold grudges for ages and ages, and because they are kept safe and sound inside prejudice, the truth is really hard to define. And I have no energy for old stories about others and the truth will one day set everyone free. And actually the big global point is if we continue to have feuds with other world powers we are destined for trouble.
Humans are particularly bad at owning up to their part in events. The times this has happened to me is really quite small in number and maybe can count them on one hand. And they burned me, and it really was imprudent and no matter what at the time it was mortifying. So over fifty years there have rare events for my part in these acts of skulduggery and really, they made shudder. Most were work related and involved not harmful disclosure but actually confidential matters which were good news events. And I never thought I would be part of gossip. It hurt others and I owned up to my part in those times. I certainly did not win any friends for it. But the truth was there, the apology and amend made. And still makes my ears burn to recollect those events.
Or we go inward to a world of imagined truth if we don’t get back to mainstream thinking and sorting out our feelings..
I feel relieved to see some good in the last day or two, and contemplating what happened and why. Well it’s really sad. And I don’t want to be that type of person, and never was.
Indeed the more I realise why my drinking went from bad to worse was simply a failure on my part to be like others and also not really supported by anyone, because I learned to be isolated and work everything out by my own endeavour. And of course I am truly not perfect, and the mistakes made were those anyone could make through life.
Learning is forever.
We had a funny meeting and good sharing all round, and being there is simply enough sometimes to belong and be just one of many making life work today.
A great chair from an old timer. And I had opportunity to listen to someone who gave me good advice in my early encounters with the fellowship. He is still sober and so am I and many more who came in around the time I did. And there so many more who did not stay and carried on with drink and are lost.
Fellowship is one way to tackle not only sobriety, but to start to learn all over again how to live and make life work.
I make them all the time and do as I can. And with open and honest understanding. It is how we live today and not distorted history which defines me and others.
Trial and Retribution
Not preferred by me, and not helpful to most who make human errors and mistakes in judgment which are about social and personal conduct. Law Breaking is another debate and not for today.
Overall I feel calmer and more energised, although exhausted by getting about and being involved with life. As it may be and I hope for more.
Hope - all that was left in Pandora’s box…
When we look back and take inventory on a day like today, it’s a plus for me tonight. Yesterday somehow was left in the mire, not by me or by design, but another’s hand and unpleasant demeanour makes me shrink back from their company rather than want to endure it. Why? Because I have choice and preference and who on earth wants company which undermines rather than builds? Not me..
Just for Today is a good way to be, and live as Kipling suggests in If. And of course Desiderata means more to me now than ever. We learn as we may by the day…
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