August 11 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "removing the ground glass…" When we are new to recovery, most likely we are in a whirlwind of pain of our own. Not only do we cope with our own pain, we hear the pain others experience. Collectively we can become very enraged, almost like storm troopers ready to inflict the maximum pain on the maximum number which is utterly futile…
Video For Today:
The ground glass and resentments that build as our emotions come back from being obliterated by whatever we could get our hands on, can explode in all directions. Even though we are learning what our part was in the breakdown of relationships, we can find like-minded people who have suffered too. If we stick with people who harbour huge resentments against others, we are likely to live in a whirlwind of pain we just simply cannot let go. Finance and romance, major losses in our old living can kill us trying to get sober and stay sober one day at a time…
The ground glass of resentments and new expectations of economic security based on past failures in relationships, where people split up and have to cope with the unfair division as we often see it of mutual assets. It can be an attachment to a favourite item, a particular recording of music, to photographs, to huge amounts of money… Let go, pay the price of professional mediators and accept the unacceptable? Under these circumstances, what price sanity?
The ground glass of unhappiness. Going over the same old stories over and over again and expecting happiness to come out in the end. How hard is it to let go? In my case, years before recovery, it took years to let go and forgive everything. I had righteous reasons to feel hurt, undermined and broken down by both finance and romance. When I look back, I just stayed too long doing what I thought was right and just… Not so today, the serenity prayer teaches me in the moment of now…
Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy? Strangely we can find a path where we find out what is right in terms of feelings, thinking and actions. The next right thing based on our feelings, and the serenity prayer influences my thinking and actions. Winning an argument is not the issue, winning the point is not the issue. The issue is knowing what I can and cannot do, I make the choice to let go, move on and live happier sooner rather than later and control nothing other than me and my actions…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Step eight "removing the ground glass...”: The moral inventory is a cool examination of the damages that occurred to us during life and a sincere effort to look at them in a true perspective. This has the effect of taking the ground glass out of us, the emotional substance that still cuts and inhibits. [as Bill sees it...]
My Eighth Step list used to drag me into a whirlpool of resentment. After four years of sobriety, I was blocked by denial connected with an on-going abusive relationship. The argument between fear and pride eased as the words of the Step moved from my head to my heart. For the first time in years I opened my box of paints and poured out an honest rage, an explosion of reds and blacks and yellows. As I looked at the drawing, tears of joy and relief flowed down my cheeks. In my disease, I had given up my art, a self-inflicted punishment far greater than any imposed from outside. In my recovery, I learned that the pain of my defects is the very substance God uses to cleanse my character and to set me free."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
A wonderful experience tonight, after eight meeting. How to love, be loved and useful. Seeing friends, being with people who understand what its like on our first day, thirty and forty years later, life is in the moment and just for today... I feel happy and humble...
Expression of feelings... open, honest and willing to let out the pain of the past? That was then and this is now. If we are to express our feelings genuinely and authentically in the day, we need find acceptance of back then, or we drag the past into the present and risk the "same old same old" in the future, progress daily
DonInLondon - ‘Day in the Life’ August 11 2007
Distractions and stuff, the things we have and do besides what we need. And it seems we have basic needs, then wants, and then we have distractions from our purpose. And worse we may not know what our purpose is..
This week has been pretty good in many respects, meetings of my Fellowship, Alcoholics Anonymous, getting out in good weather and exercising to keep myself going using the bike. And of course seeing family and talking about our loss.
Loss of a friend and loss of a relative, almost in this case for me, has hit me pretty hard, and being able to talk and express my feelings has been a challenge. Sharing the truth that life does not feel right just now, that we feel discomfort and dislocation with day to day, its to be expected, but its never easy to live it..
So these last two days, going to meetings at lunch time and also going in the evening has helped keep me in balance. I have felt that horrid chill of depression, and its normal right now to feel depressed about the last few weeks.
Even in these moments where grief seems to haunt moments of silence, there is much to smile about. Memories and recollections, new suggestions and trying one or two different things, all is good in these endeavours. And still as grief is experienced live and raw we can be overwhelmed. Its perfectly natural to do this?
Steps of change in AA
We have these steps in AA. We live them as life offers. And our attitudes and behaviour to life, well we are all learners if we are lucky to retain this flexible way to living. Grief though, this misunderstood part of life, we have nothing to prepare us for what happens, and we take our time learning if we are lucky enough.
We cannot think our way through grief, certainly we can understand what we are going through, at the same time we would deny it and prefer a return to how things were.
Denial helps enough, so we can keep going through the grieving we need do. Denial helps us make smaller the loss each day as we acknowledge the truth of life and death. But we feel our hearts break as we share, and we feel the painful reminders of loss as if it were with us in that moment. And we need feel these moments, or we would suppress under much denial what we have lost.
So these last few days, getting to meetings and being around with family. Its all to the good. And more good to come. And we shall share and swap stories.
At the same time we need keep safe. And everyone has their way to find some peace from that unrelenting ache which comes in early days, where the gap is as big can be. That gap of loss.
So with gentle care we need share stories as they come, and be able to cry in those moments where we feel tears. It is the way it can be.
Out and About
I am glad my mobility and the cycling continue. Exercise is so important for me and without the bike, life would become very, very restricted, as walking and movement bring on fatigue and pain. I don’t share this too often? I think I do. Type 1 diabetes has its own challenges, injections, care of circulation, and a whole lot more I fail to mention, as its simply only important to me..
Being out and getting about though is integral, and small projects paced suffice. I find some joy even in these miserable times. And its just the way life is. We can smile be loved and love others, and miss them when gone.
Felt odd and peculiar I have had so much to learn all over again. Speaking in front of people. Its pretty tough for me, I did it for a living for a long time, and then burnt out and so being there tonight always reminds me of good things I have done over the years.
We can keep loving and cherishing people who are no longer with us. We can love and cherish and recollect times past, with partners we have shared time and love with, who for whatever reason are not in our lives today.
Love and Yet
We know some needed to depart as life changed or love was not enough and other life experience made things break down. We can honour that love and know the consequences of some behaviour mean reconciliations will not happen in this lifetime. And I have some truly sad memories which left me stricken beyond words. We all have these times as we are all human.
I said earlier today, we can love without conditions, yet as people behave as they may, we cannot reconcile or keep them in our lives. These truths are hardest. And beyond the realms of forgiveness? Indeed we do forgive, as we realise there can be no return to how things were or have been. And still the loss is profound.
So there we are for today, a good sad and joyful day, care with feelings and care of others my imperative. There are many memories best cherished today as life affords not only a spiritual connection and truth, life and reality from deepest sadness to most heartfelt joy offers grief never imagined.
We are indeed human to feel so, in this day and any day…
August 11th 2006 [From Last years Journal]
A place Where Fellowship Resides
I live close to the Worlds end. Worlds End is a part of the City of London here in England. It seemed appropriate to pay a visit to the end of the world today. It often feels this way for me.
Early news in the morning yesterday of big alerts across the United Kingdom, and terror lurking in the wings. It seems there has been a major investigation underway for months concerning a plot to blow up airplanes in mid flight to the United States of America. And this plot is absolutely real and needed to be stopped.
Chaos and fear at airports all day and restrictions to travel plans and much disruption besides as we fall down into the abyss of reacting to critical dangers in our world. Our world, the UK, once a less violent and terrorised part of the world in recent times, we have just got over another bombing round last year, and before this the IRA gave us years of fear. So we are not immune to terror, or the policies which bring terror close to our doors.
I don’t know how others react to this situation, or what they think, not yet at least as news coverage has been strictly about our own chaos for twenty four hours. I know what I am thinking and feeling right now about the timing of events over the last few weeks. And timing is everything for we who are watching closely the events more global in nature.
And we are entitled to our views on global matters, as we are matters local. I often describe these things as happenings in the "Global Village" and "Local Village" . this notion of global and local, its important for the global and local are becoming evermore intertwined as we see today.
Middle East events have dominated for some weeks and the general feeling across our news media has been negative to the Israel and Lebanon conflict, and all that entails. And at the same time the anti terrorist forces here in the UK have been unravelling a plot.
So the events are concurrent and the actions have been timed. The events appear pretty smooth and orchestrated to put us off the scent as a new phase is taking place. Softening us all up for whatever follows on in counter terror measures.
New phases as I walked to Worlds End for a meeting of my fellowship. I don’t want to be cynical or undermine obvious need to counteract potential threats, or the timing to take media eyes away from whatever Israel does next. Or the fact that Tony Blair went on holiday knowing what was about to happen for he was fully briefed and knew everything was in place. To cover the harder news with terror news of another kind I feel my cynical brain observe. And as I say I don’t want to be cynical, yet the doubt and suspicions are there, that news of counter terror activity is hiding and diverting an easily led pack of media groups to jump to hoops made by governments and leaders who need respite from nastier things going on in the world. And why now? Cynical me, prefers simpler ways of looking at this chaos. But..
Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and Afghanistan, big news stories and we are focussed on twenty odd potential terrorists and the chaos in the UK, only really being a distraction? And what are we missing in those big global events? And why bring transport to a halt right now? Over known threats there for months before. The timing, is it suspicious and distractions made? I don’t want to be cynical, but there it is as transparent and obvious, surely it cannot be true? That our governments would make the day, this day when Israel decides to send in more troops into Lebanon and other matters abroad bubble in nasty pools of violence, that we are diverted and attention drawn to a catastrophe known about for months before now. Why now? And what is being pushed under the wire of our attention right now? Nothing I hope.
And other wars go on as domestic actions have stopped any further problems being reported in headlines today and the world and its wars go on as we still dig deep on the aftermath of a few hundred million quid lost in revenue and holidays delayed or cancelled and elsewhere we have major terrorism and violence orchestrated and not reported as top stories of the day. Are we that easily swayed? It would seem so. And what do I know anyway. I best lose my cynics head in case I fall down and see my walk to Worlds End, end in my own gloom.
And my fellowship meeting…
Well you know what astonishes me, no mention much of anything to do with outside our world, at Worlds End. Some mentions in passing and disruptions to travel plans, no mention of wars or the human costs they incurred this day. We are fortunate indeed that those other terrors are laid at the door, and we concentrate on our well being and our local world matters, or we would surely be driven mad and feel out of control.
Big news and local news. The global village where we all play, and the local village where we live. They came closer together today, and still we keep them apart, as we can mainly only deal with what we have in our local village life. It makes me wonder how we deal with our world knowledge and our impact on others across the big globe we have. Our world so close and interconnected, as our Leaders make sure, as they interfere in others lives and so bring home the consequences to our local village life. And we don’t like it, but we see their intent, to rid ourselves of terror, and yet it seems most likely they, the leaders have made terror a local event, and not just far away. And again it seems most likely, its our own countrymen who have become so embittered with our local life, they would sacrifice their own, as our Leaders make policy which hurts all concerned.
And our leaders deny their culpability and deny their shortcomings. And in our meeting locally. That’s most of what we discuss, our part in events in our lives and how we impact and take responsibility, and our Leaders fuck off on holiday and leave us to get on with their consequences. Seems pretty messed up to me.
Our local meeting at Worlds End reflects much of what we believe, that we need take responsibility for everything we are part of, and make good our living as we go along. And seeing our leaders bugger off on holiday, its as bad an example of anything we might judge as behaviour unacceptable in any of us there. Just my reflections by the way, as others in my meeting are far too concerned with daily living and issues of their own days. We are people forever in the throws of recovery and some of us are quite unwell. And me to an extent too. For without daily appraisal of our role and actions, we get often to a place of denial and then get really screwed up. And this is the picture the global world sees as our leaders are busy enjoying their time off as the terror is felt by their direct actions across this conflicted world. Ironic and nasty observations of leaders in a hurry to cover their tracks and make others take up the spotlight as they sit and drink their jolly drinks on the beach or their private ranch. Jolly days indeed as holidays taken, or not if you live in the UK, and cannot fly away, unless you are of course a Prime Minister on route to Barbados.
Odd times indeed…
A good meeting was held and much ground covered to keep ourselves well, so we act responsibly and conduct ourselves appropriately as we meet our own challenges a day at a time. So why am I cynical?
Maybe its me, and fully acknowledge my condition is one of depression and sadness as I observe our Global world, and from Worlds end, I know all I can do, is see what I see, and make do with the reality of these times.
Acceptance is our key. And we are only able to change our leaders now and then, happily for us Blair will soon be gone. And unhappily for us, his legacy is already made, as more terror is likely because of what he has done. Not less likely, and so we know as surely he will reflect, that he has his part played and we live with the consequences.
In our local village we know all about denial, and our Prime Minister Blair has his head full, absolutely completely enmeshed in his own belief, and his denial of his role in what follows, that is a real tragedy. I do hope he lives for a long time and feels that shame, for its his not ours and time will tell all as history records his actions and behaviour for all time.
I need address my gloom and go to meetings and keep my head on straight in case my cynicism spreads, and makes me more gloomy than usual, as my depression is always present. I hope others don’t feel the same way, or life in general would be gloomy indeed and there would be no respite. And that reminds me, if I lived elsewhere in this world of great terrors, my world might end quickly and others gloom be life long. There is the difference I guess. We get used to gloom and depression, I know from personal experience of years how bad this can be, well maybe I just don’t wish it on anyone, but those with responsibility for causing our feelings. I know my part in my own doing, I wonder how well others will acknowledge their part as the years go by…
And quite frankly if I wish to keep my own balance and not get drawn in, its absolutely none of my business. Or is it or isn’t it? How and where does it all end? Certainly not here in Worlds End.
We do need to be aware, we have global responsibility through our elected leaders, we need be mindful what our countries do, we need to be involved in helping the world become a more peaceful place. Even when our current leaders are approaching everything defensively and quite irresponsibly. They will change and the world will go on, hopefully with better leadership all round, or mankind is lost…
We can do our part with good conscience, keep well and be mindful how we can help our fellows, all fellows a day at a time and without prejudice!
We learn as we can just one day at a time…
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:
Step Eight Reading
“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