August 1 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "the spiritual life is not a theory…" Which reminds me of the saying, "how can I get my head round this?" As one Archbishop said and I have heard many theologians and spiritual types say: "spiritual is the ability to cope with reality" so the truth is quite simple, if we are dealing with the present and living in it, everything is spiritual, the good, the bad and the ugly…
Video For Today:
How hard is it to live in the present moment, where our feelings are working and we know what they are and they reflect or work in the moment of now? I don't know where you are and how your meetings work, in London UK we have many people sharing that they often are living the same old nightmare of the past over and over again, or hoping that tomorrow will be better and not really thinking or feeling what is going on today. Fear of the past and the future is not very helpful one day at a time…
Step eight is the focus of the AA fellowship literature "daily reflections" and it is all about making a list of people we have harmed and being willing to make amends to them. Before recovery I was aware that I had harmed people and had tried to make amends, and no amount of denial could shield me from my own memories and attempts to put things right. Making a list of amends in recovery and being willing, not a revelation, simply a list to compile and have willingness in my heart…
Step eight can be very difficult because the list and willingness is just the first part of making the amends in step nine. There is fear, mostly that we might lose something, usually relationships which are current and might be impacted by the amends we need to make later on. One thing to remind ourselves of his thoroughness. And that the amends we make in step nine need not harm people further and this needs discussion with others before we press ahead to step nine…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Living it: 1 Aug ~ The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it. [AA Big Book]
When new in the program, I couldn’t comprehend living the spiritual aspect of the program, but now that I’m sober, I can’t comprehend living without it. Spirituality was what I had been seeking. God, as I understand Him, has given me answers to the whys that kept me drinking for twenty years. By living a spiritual life, by asking God for help, I have learned to love, care for and feel compassion for all my fellow men, and to feel joy in a world where, before, I felt only fear."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
DonInLondon ~ A newcomers chair always reminds me of how recovery started for me, from despair to repair one day at a time. I could not wait to pass the milestones in recovery, now I might prefer they slow down. So much to do one day at a time…
Living in the moment is the spiritual connection to truth. How we see our day with fewer filters determines our ability to make best choices and have freedom today. There will be doubt, sometimes fear and we may hide and brave face. With 12 steps, courage and faith will help our esteem facing our challenges today...
A better perspective, how am I feeling today, knowing what it is like to be me and not what I thought you wanted me to be. Today I feel good, the past is gone and has given me wisdom. I have shared plans and thoughts, accepted feedback, adapted and in this one day I can be happy or sad as life is... serenity today
Spiritual principles to live life "real" ~ "Forgiveness" "Acceptance" "Surrender" "Faith" "Open-mindedness" "Honesty" "Willingness" "Moral-inventory" "Amends" "Humility" "Persistence" "Spiritual-growth" "Service"
"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."
Step 8 is the beginning of making amends, of healing the past with others. From the inventory of Step 4, I have a good starting place for making a list of people that I have harmed. I look over my personal inventory and possibly reflect on my life again. I make a list of the people that I have harmed. I can write down thoughts beside each name about what the appropriate amends might be. I then go through the list and make sure I am willing in my heart to make the amends.
- From 12Step.org
"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. The A.A. Steps & Traditions are neither rules, regulations, nor laws. Perhaps the secret of their power lies in the fact that these life-giving communications spring out of living experience and are rooted in love." 1. A.A. COMES OF AGE, P. 105." "We find it amazing that the newcomer can start the A.A. program without any specific beliefs or, for that matter, without any beliefs whatsoever. All a person needs is the open-mindedness and the willingness to believe that WE BELIEVE this program works..."
Publish August 1 2007
DonInLondon - July 31 2007 ‘Day In the Life’
Life Balance - Ephemeral
Odd today, to have a sunny day rather than the weeks and weeks of rain. This is a novelty here in the UK this year so it was good to cycle down to see my Mother and as always a good discussion about life and death as it happens. We are still coming to understand how life is without a big player in it, that is Christopher, my Sister’s partner who died this month. And we know its good to talk about how life is now and also remember good moments with a friend gone. We need not suppress a thing and we do need to have time to talk about him. And my sister needs as much time as she wants and needs to make any sense of anything. She is a courageous Lady I realise and this loss is as bad as life can get. And still we need do things and be here and make life anew.
Balance seemed to be our theme tonight and finding any sort of balance on a day by day basis is quite a difficult endeavour at the best of times. And actually as we find ourselves sometimes often in the worst of times, balance seems as far away as the stars to the earth.
And yet we know balance keeps us in a place of equilibrium and finding this odd state of being can be just in the day I feel. The self help books talk of it, the life balance we need. And yet as we strive for something which can only last a moment we might wish it more and feel cheated if we don’t get it.
Balance is where we are happen to be at any time. Being out of balance actually is being out of the balance we might prefer, we experience control and choice as we choose and not as the world sometimes has in store for us.
Illusions are Profound
We imagine often the way we want to be, the way we want people to be and the way we want the world to behave, to our plan and our outlook, judgment and opinion. Is it any wonder with over six billion people on the planet, that balance is a relative thing, a nearly not quite thing and sometimes life just is miserable and we are miserable and that is balance.
Take heart We Can
We can take heart and stop thinking everything should be our way, must be as we want it and need it to be, because that is just the right way! Its not of course and as we raise our eyes and exclaim its just a mess, we need say hold on and are we judging as we want perfect, or are we imagining what we want and not what is?
Good reminders of all the mistakes I make as life goes along and the world turns as it always does, or nearly does.
We work with what we have and are best being nimble and careful, just seeing the choices we have and the consequences. Listening tonight I realise the mistakes I have made, expecting things right when no amount of effort can make it right.
Years ago when I was away a while in foreign climes, I had a great time, had everything I needed and wanted. I need and wanted to be alone in crowds of people who looked at themselves and not at me. I loved my silence, loved my peace and loved being unknown and not really understood. I read books and more books watched the world go by and drank myself into many an early hour with me as company and a bottle of spirits. It was not always like that and interludes of great frivolity happened and then ended and happened again. I was really on the run from life. And no amount of romantic dalliances with lovely women I met made me feel as I imagined life might be. They were not the problem, I was the problem and I now why these days. Fear of abandonment played heavy in my heart always back then. And now I see why.
For years pleasing others so I may be left to my own quiet silence, where peace and tranquillity came at the end of each day, mostly if not always successful. Always hard in endeavour and working my ticket, to a place where no one came close and never really let anyone in. The shell game of life, a shell of acceptability outside and inside a place of silent sanctuary.
Years of success on the outside and nothing much inside? Not so for many years and many relationships and many fantastic moments were only ever clouded as the balance was lost. Or was I just lost? I was sadly.
Balance back then, hard to say where or what it was, as life was just plain busy without real rest of chance to decide much of anything. There were great hurts along the way and that is just as life may be. And I shied away in end from all interludes where companionship and romance may have developed longer term.
The Detriment of Intellect and Thinking
We seem equipped with two elements inside us, a side of feeling and a side of thinking. I always came down to a fine balance between the two? I doubt it now as intellect and thinking covered up a lot of my feelings and sadness and fears about loneliness and loves lost.
Feelings and sadness, not sure what life would have been if.. And the if’s and let downs, the hard moments and poor choices for happiness made me more prone to doing and not feeling, pretending and then really feeling and still not quite ever being there as life may be.
I hid behind career and success for many years I realise filling my gaps with interludes and most often in the latter years with drink which went on and on and on.
And thinking and intellect and cleverness and all we can do to mask what we need when all we needed was love.
Love is all we truly need.
So we look and we plan and we scheme and we don’t see what may be right there right now as we prefer our perfect outlooks..
Progress and not Perfect
Progress and experience of living and loving are simply the only ways to learn. Our castles in the sky, our imagined perfect partners? Well truly these days I realise all my partners would and could have been perfect, if not for me! And I am glad they found happiness elsewhere and not me. As I needed to find me, lost somewhere and far from reality.
There have been many fantastic moments where balance in those single events were near perfect for me, and the women in my life made choices and me too and why not stay together? Like for like often, we were still in imagination and forgetful that endeavour is need to make life work in partner ship and harmony. We judged each other and found the perfect partner was not there, or when we found the perfect partner they were gone before challenge and hard work would set in, to make life work.
Tourist in our Lives
We can become a tourist in our own living as we constantly search for the perfect partner. There is no need to wonder now as looking back everything had an edge. Perfection? No such thing. Yet the tourist who uses intellect and judgment often misunderstands the beauty in just being.
Rare Moments of Bliss
Like everything we have in life, and we may cherish with absolute certainty, and be loved and love without condition. These moments have come and gone as life was lived in a way which made bliss just impossible to maintain. And now I see bliss in any moment can be found as find truth as is and reality as life is, in each and every moment.
I realise balance often sought is much an illusion as perfection is attainable ever in this perfectly imperfect world.
And I am grateful for loving partners along the way. And cherish moments not lost time. Loss and trying to find the same patterns over and over and finding they can never be repeated. Actually the key is finding happiness in the journey as we live and not as we imagine or try recreate again. This is some of my learning over the years. I will always adore those cherished moments with delightful women I have known and loved. And know moments will occur again as life and my eyes are more synchronised and able to see truth where before I imagined what next, rather than living what next.
The path of spiritual, never quite in balance, always quite open to change. As we learn and find friends and fellowship, feel better in our outlooks and are open to life, we find love is all around. And even when loss makes us spend time grieving there comes a time when we can love again. Life gives us passion for love and living, we need be careful and constant in our outlooks and integrity, cherish happy moments as they come, as each day unfolds new living and life.
Don’t rush life, live it, just for today..
August 1st 2006 [ Last Years Journal]
Roll with the Punches in our Fellowship
Be real with our expectations
Its August already, pinch punch first day of the month. I went to a fellowship meeting last night and we found we had no key to get into the venue. There were about 40 or 50 of us. So some went home, some went to a meeting round the corner and some of us went to a meeting round another corner!
We have meetings all over, so if one gets fucked up, there is always another close by. And we get coffee and a welcome wherever we go. Its good. Its fellowship. And I went to this particular meeting for no reason other than it was handy and any meeting will do, for they have us fellows in them, and we know our place and time!
One the keys to success in our fellowship is picking meetings which are helpful at different stages of recovery and we have newcomers and other meetings. This meeting for newcomers, those who can barely keep their wits about them after the shock of being sober a day or two, or an hour or two, and some who can still taste their favourite tipple in their mouths. Alcohol fucks us up and we want it still, it’s a feature of addiction, we will get thirsty if we don’t apply ourselves and keep safe, hence my fellowship attendance. And I don’t think of a drink these days, why? Simply because I go to meetings and learn new habits and ways of living, and then I stayed around for simple fellowship.
But what is our fellowship and friendships in this day and age? We are so fucked up as a society, its no wonder we became addicted to our best friend, namely oblivion and alcohol. And what are friends and fellows these days? We can become bemused as we find fellowship and friendship an over riding problem in our own minds.
Friends and fellowship means to us something and nothing, for we need to know what we are ourselves before we start making firm friends and being in a fellowship. When we come through the doors of a fellowship meeting in early days we are strangers to ourselves as much as any other. And we need a sense of belonging. Well the fellowship does do this, for we know we belong in it, once we have enough time to realise another drink will most likely lead to a premature death!
We need to be real. We had a complaint last night from one fellow who felt the fellowship was full of false friends and load of shit. Well my view is simple, if we treat ourselves like shit we get shit back. If we set ourselves up to be best friends with everyone in a fellowship we are expecting a crock of shit, and we cannot expect every human who comes into a fellowship to get over their own inadequacies overnight, or be your or my buddy either.
Our fellowship is made up of broken people working out how to stay sober one day at a time, and keep faith with each other and swap stories and make the best of one day, this day. To expect to find best buddies in a fellowship like ours is fucking mad and insane. We are just good one day, and tomorrow we might be fucked again. So we keep our horizon just one day long. And that’s the big of us too. For indeed if we do keep things one day long, we stay our right size and ability to be friends even best of friends for a day. We might not be wise to plan too far ahead because we can’t be friends for life, for life is just one day long.
Sounds crap? Its not, its simply being real about us, we do our best one day only, today.
And the complaints we heard were as bogus as the friendship sought and need the fellow expressed, which was guaranteed life long friendship, when we only have one day at a time.
Planning and relying beyond a day is something we don’t suggest, we suggest one day only, and if a day at a time some people have friends for years and years, that is a real bonus.
And in reality we can have just a few friends of depth and our fellow was looking for a million friends deep. We can’t have that! For how many friends did we have when we were drinking, and how many friends can we truly be deep with? Simply just ourselves and maybe a few others! Just a few, not a fucking fellowship.
So we need remind ourselves to give ourselves a break and see how deep our friendships go. Beyond the bottle, our best of friend which will kill us, we may get close to one or two fellows along the way. That’s life, and quite ordinary. And anyone who expects a fellowship to give more than society ever did, well it probably does, but we need remind ourselves of reality. That friendship takes time and effort and intimacy and closeness, we cannot expect overnight.
In the meantime fellowship means we know thousands and thousand like us, who can meet and share and experience being together and swapping intimate stories of life.
In the real world of a day at a time, we have great and fantastic connections to a body of people who look after themselves the best they can a day at a time. To expect more and have bosom buddies as if they are family, that takes years and years and years. We in fellowship need remind ourselves to be realistic and that fellows are as flaky as the totality of the world. We are only good for a day! And to ask more and expect more, well we might consider our options, for if deeper friendships are sought to knit into our lives, we need better arrangements and better mutuality of expectations.
When we work with fellowship we work on ourselves and reality, and reality is that fellows in our fellowship are merely thin connections with deep knowledge and skills to help us. And we develop links and association and yes we do develop friendships too, but they take forever as life in or out of fellowship must teach us. We don’t collect friends we nurture and share time together with commonality beyond our addictions and our fellowship to keep well.
Fellowships are a bridge to modern living, they form a way back to ordinary living and friendship. If we are fortunate we make friends, but we need to be real and know we don’t mistake our fellowship and friendship connections.
Our disgruntled and pissed off fellow highlights in truth what we know inside, most people will let us down as we let them down. Simply because we don’t have deep intimate loyalties forged through time.
Expectations of fellowship are what they are. And friendship needs intimate discussion and development. To expect deep connection and love is beyond reality, indeed it would kills us all if we behaved as if we were so. We cannot have lots of friends with deep connection, there is not enough time or inclination. And just because we belong in our fellowship, we are not best mates beyond the fellowship connection. Fucking dumb mistake, but obvious one to believe in, as we all do and we all know too well, that if we were relied upon to that deep extent, for everyone we would break as quickly as we mend. We are not able to be all things to all people.
We are however able to develop links, we collect phone numbers for when things are difficult and hard to live with, so in our strength of numbers we find friends who can helps us and as in life others who are fucking useless and worse than no help at all. That is life.
So anyone reading these words can take heart that fellowship is as strong as the bonds we implicitly make and understanding is as broad as our numbers. We will have a few people ready to help at any one time from a pool of thousands here in our town.
That’s why we collect phone numbers and go out and see our fellows frequently, to connect with others who are good with their recovery.
We also make sure we have one person, a sponsor who keeps us safer and talks with us often, most likely any day, every day as we get with the programme. And sponsors are there for us and know what the score is, they know we have slim and thin connection to millions in society, and are better to have one who will pick up the phone and listen when we are anxious. that’s what sponsors do in our programme.
Of life we can count the friends we can rely upon maybe on one hand or one finger! If we get one its quite amazing, and its simply outrageous to expect to know and be friends to more than we can even be intimate with. After all we are merely human. And humans at best have a partner if they are gifted, or a very small select and close knit family, which may be blood related or just how life has worked out over time and are friends of deep connection.
So we relate on a deep level in our fellowship, but we have the connections that we can deal with. And when we expect our fellows to be our best mates and buddies as if they know us from the cradle, we are truly deluded and fucked if we do.
Simply we need be real about fellowship. And we need to be understanding that we are just learning our friend and fellowship skills, and just one day at a time.
Maybe I am ranting, but I know full well we only have limited capacity for friends and family. And as we have given up living with a best friend of however long it might have been, our addiction, our drinking and fixing, our skills take time as we learn the ropes of life once again.
In amongst all that crap, which was good because it reminds me, how hard it is to be friends with people. And its easy to be a fellow in our fellowship, we turn up listen and talk, of deep intimate experience, and we walk home with more knowledge and connection every time we meet up. That is how it works. We get better at connecting and understanding the possible, and being a good fellow in recovery.
We don’t take our brains out and get programmed or become imbued with superhuman qualities, we just get ordinary and as troubled or happy as ordinary people. That’s all, we become happier to be ourselves with ups and downs of life and living a day at a time. End of?
Well not quite there is so much more to it. And I’ll write about this some other time, as you may find here.
The nuts and bolts of fellowship is learning to be an ordinary human being with all that we are, as good as the day, or as bad as we feel, but know how to cope with it. We need find ourselves a sponsor, who may be right for us or wrong, we don’t know till we have had time to try working that relationship out. Just like ordinary life, we like some people and we don’t care for others. But out of the available numbers who sponsor, there will be one or a number who we get to know well. And they are merely there to listen and guide and we choose what we do.
We divorced our best friend and came to understand that our addiction would kills us or another addiction might. Better to get fellowship and develop our relationship with ourselves as we connect and maybe, just maybe, we get friendships too. Our friendships are as deep and long as we develop them, and as in ordinary life some flourish and grown and some are worth fuck all. That’s life a day at a time. And we need remind ourselves as friends go, with our horrid addictions we were useless at friendships, relationships, marriages, partnerships, being parents, being sons and daughters, being related to anyone at all.
So we need good expectations of what we can do, just one day only!! And no more than that, or expect more than that, or we are fucked and back in hell once again.
Be kind, be helpful, be there and listen, be there and share, and be real just for today. And forgive being ordinary, I find it absolutely wonderful. And when I meet authentic ordinary people in life, I love it and keep it just so. I can love my fellow man, but I’d rather love just one woman, and have some friends and a million fellows behind me to back me up. So far, two out of three ain’t bad going, and where are you ordinary special woman?! Well who knows, and smiles here because that is not what drives me, being ordinary and well and recovering makes anything possible beyond the wildest dreams of any addict to life…
Step 8 "Step Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." "n other words, who have you harmed? You will recall from our discussion of Steps 4 and 5, that a preliminary list of persons we had harmed is generated there. The list will now be refined into a personal amendment plan, which is the product of Step 8."Although this step requires plenty of work, there is nothing frightening in it. Amends are not actually made in Step 8. Instead, we plan for the making of amends in Step 9, which follows. Harm is: injury, hurt, damage, misfortune, grief, pain, sorrow, evil, wrong or wickedness. Have we brought about any of these in the lives of others? The Big Book and the 12&12 also are quite specific about harm." BB Bunch
August Video Reading Step Eight Into Action Link:
“How It Works” Reading Video Link:
“Into Action" 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