August 12 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "looking backward, to move forwards one day at a time…" When I look back, there are remarkable trends, rebellion and I suppose a rebel without a cause, until I found one and another and another, fuelled by indignance and righteousness and alcohol. And with the sure knowledge of powerlessness back in the day, if only I had known the value of acceptance…
Video For Today:
I fought many causes and battles over the years. Very often successful, but when I failed and let people down, the fear of failure was masked and the feeling of less than being capable came out as anger at life and gave me great reasons to drink heartily. All the negatives including shame and guilt were obliterated as I found oblivion from reality. And understanding of what I can and cannot do and acceptance, it does not stop me from striving, it makes me realistic and have courage to change…
Looking backwards is delving into the wisdom of my life experience. Anyone of us can paint a turgid picture missing the point, if we don't change and adapt as life and reality keep on changing. Last night I felt much gratitude, able to get out and experience the wonderment of thousands of people gathered in one place to cheer the Olympians. Everyone from all walks of life celebrating endeavour. I love the human condition, imperfectly perfect in the moment of now…
Photography… I love taking pictures of people, people are the highest form of art in my world. From nature and nurture, from the youngest to the oldest, we all wear our life experience in our faces, shape and form. Emotional and spiritual, the very essence, our feelings in the moment of now and how we cope with reality. If we are looking, we can see it and looking out, I see myself in you, changing moment by moment and always in this one day where life is happening…
Switch off your phone, and see your world right now…
AA Daily Reflections August 12 ~ Look backward... First, we take a look backward and try to discover where we have been at fault; next we make a vigorous attempt to repair the damage we have done [12&12]
As a traveller on a fresh and exciting A.A. journey of recovery, I experienced a newfound peace of mind and the horizon appeared clear and bright, rather than obscure and dim. Reviewing my life to discover where I had been at fault seemed to be such an arduous and dangerous task. It was painful to pause and look backward. I was afraid I might stumble! Couldn't I put the past out of my mind and just live in my new golden present? I realized that those in the past whom I had harmed stood between me and my desire to continue my movement toward serenity. I had to ask for courage to face those persons from my life who still lived in my conscience, to recognize and deal with the guilt that their presence produced in me. I had to look at the damage I had done, and become willing to make amends. Only then could my journey of the spirit resume."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
A wonderful experience last night, 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...
Morning meditations. I am alive and breathing, check my situation as a type 1 diabetic, blood sugar levels and insulin requirements. Daily meditations starts with, step one, two and three, "freedom to choose, sane enough right now, let go and let good happen, and serenity prayer, can do cannot do. At bedtime, gratitude for and anything disturbing me? Usually me and my attitudes...
August 12 2008 ~ 2010
Look back don't stare, as we move on to the maintenance steps, 10 11 12. Step 8 our list of amends and willingness to make them. As we look at harm done by us, we need reflect the steps are not for judging harm done to us. The gift, understanding our part in all matters, our side of the street clean, what others do is their business...
Making amends not just for today. The living amend to self is recovery and spiritual progress as each of us understands, a personal view. Our thorough and fearless inventory, and time illuminates more to do and less to do, more open, honest and willing. When I falter, I share and listen for experience strength and hope today...
Publish August 12 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ August 12 2007 and this Morning
Indeed yesterday was quite peaceful overall. Some calls, some sharing and some connection to fellows and friends in fellowship.
I am realising I have three key elements, Family, Friends, Friends and Fellows in the Alcoholics Anonymous Fellowship..
One Mother, One sister, One Brother, One sister in Law, Three Nephews and One God Son. Not bad I must say as I head to fifty one years on Tuesday! And I might have had a wife and children? Yes indeed opportunity was not the issue, me and my outlook from early life were reasons enough never to settle in one place long enough. And then of course choice of life partners and timing and everything - I would have loved to be a father and husband. And recent times has made me realise with everything in life, choices and chances come and go. Was I ever available to be a father and husband? Of course, yet timing and, well people places and things are serendipity, happenstance and as much luck. I am pleased to have family close and we know each other best and better these days.
So many chances at conventions and so many mismatched moments. This is life. And I have a life reclaimed on a daily basis!
Friends Over the Years
There are a few, we have lost contact over the years, and especially as I headed into depths of gloom for a decade or more like two its poignant to realise none of them would have found me agreeable or like the person they knew of old. There are many years of hurtful loss and severe depression which cut me off from life and living at all. And of course spectacular decline into alcoholism. It was my near death experience on what became a daily basis for a long, long time. Now in recovery for some years, life picks up to normal these last few months. A normal I have never known in my adult life.
Friends Fellows and Fellowship
Odd really that I had to go to Rock Bottom living so many times to break free of fear of life.
Fear of Life
Not something a big strong man would want to share, yet in sharing the emotional pain of singularity and not feeling big enough all the way and then losing sensitivity to living through career and anything which made the picture of life look right to the outsider..
Gift of Living
No one can turn another round and help them see that life is a gift when all living has come from fear. We need grow the gift of living by living new and peaceful days.
Dark - Endarkenment
The life of my life, well a friend called Brian once mentioned the word ‘endarkenment’ one of those made up words like ‘obliviate’ I sometimes offer as another way to define depression and self harming to medicate the horrors away. Until of course the horrors just stay and the medication, alcohol in my case did nothing but make them even more powerful in my mind.
Light - Enlightenment
Comes with careful and slow progress, not to be perfect, just to enjoy the day as is. And if a day offers lightness and joy, experience its truth.
And when the day offers sadness in the now, reflections of past times too, experience its truth.
Spiritual for me is to have both the light and the dark, the contrast between light and dark.
Enlightenment and Endarkenment
The truth in each day, we have both so we know the difference. The wisdom in truth is to know, to develop and understand we need both. Nirvana, Utopia, The Grail of Life is completely in this ever present moment of now, the imperfectly, perfectly present moment of now.
Spiritual is in us every waking moment as we reveal the truth of us and our living. Truth the key and sanctuary of spiritual connection to Nature and Providence.
We work at life or we Perish without the key, oft imagined in the after life, the hereafter, yet present right here right now, gifted and delivered from this infinite Universe, some call God.
August 12th 2006 [Last Years Journal]
Feeling and Empathy
Sometimes the most obvious things we do everyday lead to good outcomes and bad outcomes. We react to situations the way we have learned over the years and we don’t realise what is going on. In life we get good and bad days generally as well. And sometimes we forget the difference between how we react and how we respond to daily life.
When we react, its from our learned and natural tendency given what we know. We react with kindness to kindness. We react with anger at anger. These things we know. Yet we don’t often take a moment to understand why.
Every human being feels everything first and then thinks about the feeling. We have feelings all day long and in our sleep we dream through our feelings. That’s why when we dream we have no control it would seem over what we dream. We dream feelings and not our thinking.
So if we are feeling all the time, how or why don’t we share always how we feel? Simply because sometimes our feelings will give us away to people we don’t know or trust. So we develop our reactions to our feelings so we don’t give up our fears and often our liking of others. it’s a thing we all do all the time. Simply if we show our feelings all the time, life would become overwhelming we feel, and so we think our reactions and behave according to a book of rules we learn as we grow.
So if I am feeling first and then think about it, and have a way to show how I react, then I have ways of being, simple things like greeting and being amiable, or being cool when things feel heated. We have our "cool" side, the hip or ok way to behave and be in control, even when our feelings might be quite out of control. When we see somebody we like and our feelings are attraction, we hide in case the other does not share our feelings and we might feel more uncomfortable if they knew.
Being a single man I may have ordinary normal feelings of attraction towards women I meet, yet I don’t always show my attraction to them explicitly. My reasons are quite simple, I don’t want all women I am attracted to know straight away I find them so. Why? Because I have learned what we see is not all the picture we encounter and what looks attractive physically is often a mere part of a person, they had so much more I need to know besides. They may be ugly inside and their personality may be so different from what I find attractive, what I see physically is never enough for me. I need more of what is on the inside for me to be attracted and it’s the character I need know to express more of my true self.
Its complicated? Always..
So even when we are able to show feelings we never know how the other person is until we have more common ground, which is why we have rules of meeting and engaging with each other. Even friends have these rules and when we have feelings of friendship they are learned and learned again, over and over. Nothing is actually solid until we know it is so.
When we are able to discover more clearly how we are feeling we get better results from our dealings with others.
Ask this simple question first. How am I feeling?
How I am feeling will depend on what is happening in my life. Wake up in the morning and ask yourself that question, how am I feeling? Then ask why to yourself. it’s a way of checking out how am I today. And the answer is how you wake up and what is on your mind. We start feeling consciously from the moment we awake. We wake up good or bad depending on what is going on in our lives. And how our dreams may have been too. It all adds up.
Assertive behaviour is knowing how I am feeling and knowing why, and then I can get to what to do. Its easy and we just don’t often do it. Because if we do ask these questions of ourselves it most often means we need to do something we might not like. And that means change something, in ourselves and our environment. When we feel under threat or vulnerable, we cling to what we know and it may be our cause of worry, and fear of nothing can be worse than knowing what we have already. That is why when we assert how we feel, and we are part of a family or group of friends we need find empathy.
From assertive to empathy…
Empathy is understanding our feelings and others feelings. We start again as assertive, where we ask ourselves how am I feeling and then ask our family and friend(s) how they are feeling. We start a process with others when we do this, And the sooner we start this process, the quicker we get to our truth and their truth. We start the dialogue of living with assertiveness for ourselves and empathy with others.
Empathy is asking
How are we feeling right now, why and what can we do? How do we feel? Are we feeling the same way, and if so why, then we get to negotiating our way forward together in joint activities. We get Empathy!
Or we get confused because others are feeling quite differently to us and how we feel. We find often though both of us concerned feel the same way and we build on where we are. Or we find our feelings are different and we find we need find another way forward. We find asserting ourselves separates out our friends from acquaintances and cuts down the misunderstandings we have about each other and our living.
Assertiveness and Empathy go hand in hand. Asserting our feelings from being comfortable and often uncomfortable, and sharing carefully, owning our feelings helps us get over hurdles we have. The guessing games we play where we don’t know how others are with us. More often than not we are surprised to find others mirror our feeling. More often than not we find better understanding. And often we find we might be in company which offers us nothing. And where we find better empathy and understanding we find our home, where we find no understanding and no empathy we find its time to move on. Easy and simple? NO.
We need to learn these skills of being assertive and having empathy. It is a life long project of living and being comfortable with ourselves. It all takes a little bit more time than assuming some things we think we know. But I tell you now, its better to be assertive and understand ourselves, and then find empathy and good trusted connections to our world. And as we do this others learn and grow too, but their learning is not our concern here. Just how we learn to be assertive and have empathy, what others do is their learning and their concern.
As to my day and evening, well I did ask myself how I felt. I felt so tired from insomnia which I have had for months, I actually went back to bed and got three hours sleep in a row. And as a result felt like I have been made half drunk with sleep…
A strange feeling as if sleep made me dull. I realise I cannot go on like this, with the odd hour or two here and there. This has been going on for months now. And changes in medication, while they have helped me with my Diabetic control and weight, well the downside has been quite awful. Sleeplessness and fatigue are plaguing me now all the time, and while I can cope just about with the days I have, it is beyond a short term problem, and I cannot deal with this fatigue of mind and body for a longer time span. Its been this way now for six months. So assertively I must get help. And soon. Fortunately I am seeing my specialist next week and will be able to get an assessment. And then together we can see what might be done to improve matters. It may be that there is something I do not know. But I feel its about time mostly, I cannot hurry the changes needed to my regime, as my body and mind are dealing with new medications and new territory. With help I hope I will learn whether my patience is misguided or I am just adjusting and things will smooth out in their own time of their own volition. I need not worry too much, I just need time to let things run their course and of course check there is nothing else causing these problems.
In the meantime, worry will make things worse, patience and acceptance will let things be and time will help me, no fixes can put something like this right overnight, so I am accepting and patient.
Coming back to feelings for a moment.
We have all our feelings for reasons, we have good and negative feelings. We pay heed to both and when we ignore our feelings we will find compromise and often danger for our wellbeing. When we feel worry and anger and rage, they are usually justified, we need respond with some thinking to work out why before we react. Realise all feelings are valid and need to be understood, we have them for security and protection. And when we suppress them we act next in dangerous territory and often not in our interests. Especially with those we feel we love, and they don’t love us enough back. Feel it, understand our feelings and then after asking why, what can I do, or we do next. Sometimes the answer is not the one we prefer in the short term where we let things go, longer term though, the sooner we find our empathy, the easier we feel and more secure we are in our living.
Hard lives and hard knocks will always be our learning, as is empathy where love is boundless as is peace and harmony. Life is about both, and never exclusive to one or other state of being. That’s just how life is.
DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ August 12 2007
Sunday Bloody Sunday - Time
Its been just a short time since a bereavement in the family, it had to be on a Sunday, and that Sunday was particularly hard for everyone. Not least for one who came to a very sad and far too quick end. As they had put it, “stricken” and as said to me things “were coming to a conclusion.” We had no real clue it was ever going to be that quick.
As we learn to live differently, its hardest for others who were closer. And the moments of disbelief are as strong as any of us would wish.
We had lunch today, shared moments and recollections, looked at photo’s not so long ago, where things were pretty ok. And life felt normal. I feel glad to see them so happy and the images share the truth and good life of two who lived together,
Even though I am less near to events over the years, love was obvious and profound, which makes the sadness as desperate as can be. And everything had been done together and in partnership. I cannot feel the loss so profound, one step removed. I do know the loss close up for many different reasons and circumstances. Love is and always will be eternal, that is true, and the fact of another gone, it makes for heartbreak.
Listening to another fellow describe their chance to reconcile and share love with their father, that he had never done for many years, then shared his feeling of love with his father, much later. It was a reminder. As our fellow explained he had time to share his feelings, his father had cried and been warmed by the truth of love. And they had some time before his dad died to share moments and truths and life experiences together.
For our Loss
I feel we were given little time to understand the enormity, the loss and the impact. And the impact will go on for a long while. We don’t forget and we need talk as often as we may and share and swap stories, see photo’s and laugh and cry.
We feel incredible hurt and pain as we find loved ones gone. And as badly and sometimes even harder is when we are left and a person goes on to a new life with another. As hard as this may seem to write, its better expressed than held in and gnawing as we try brave face the impossible.
And a favour done for leaving it best understood in context of life reclaimed than lost.
We always need time and this life feels too short, as people say ”life is too short.” And we do need time in this short life to grieve as we need to, and this is just right.
Death may seem an inconvenience to some, as we may feel loss as deep and heart rending we cannot let it all out in one flurry of dread and loss. We are overwhelmed with grief, and a heart broken needs time to mend. It is true. The beauty in grief is sharing the depth and spiritual union which is broken, as we find our way to cherish every recollection of good we can muster before times takes its toll and we are forgetting. And indeed in twenty years good, there is much to remind us all. The sadness of life taken too swiftly is unfair as every loss is unfair for us who are left and bereft. And it is surely life on life’s terms to express our feelings when we can, what hurts us in loss is their presence gone for good.
Time Old Father Time
We learn as time goes by to recall and recollect the best of times. And as time goes by, the love never yields to time, we cherish our memories and we need not let one moment fall from memory. And memory is tricky when we remind ourselves of everything, good that we can recall the best. And lose that image of death. It never goes, we deal as we may.
We humans are no different when it comes to loss, no matter what we do, we cannot let go of some fond and memorable occasions. They may seem buried a while and then they will emerge again, and as we learn to smile and have those tears just there, sometimes flowing, sometimes just enough to feel them well up, we are gifted with what we love and loved.
Grief is the hardest lesson mankind will ever face. As individuals as nations and as civilisations come and go, sentiment will be shared, and understanding universal. Grief can flow as we learn how.
Higher Power - Love
Love indeed is my higher power and with happiness I know that love cherishes me, even when I cannot either feel or see it. And with the hardest of whacks to our sensibilities it can hurt so completely that our desolate feelings find no answers in intellect. We need time and cherishing.
However long it takes is the right amount, and with time we stop drowning and start living as we may. Or we too may feel there is no point to life at all. And it need not be so. We deal with life , love and time as we may.
Profound sadness is as much a gift as profound joy, we need both to know the difference, and as experience grows some elements of natural living are learned as hard can be.
Beyond reason, love does conquer all, and we may share it over and over as life affords. Best we learn love, and in all life and living, love is truly all we need…
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