August 14 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "repairing the damage, our part in making amends…" Alcohol, the rapacious creditor… At the end of our drinking career, our outlook and our emotions were either extreme at extreme highs or extreme lows, or we were in oblivion. Literally we had pickled ourselves and everything was driven by a need to drink… We were very hurt by life and we hurt people along the way…
Video For Today:
Number one amend to make all amends possible is to realise that alcohol made us dependent, emotionally unwell or in oblivion. Our feelings did not fit reality and we could not cope. Extreme feelings, most likely all the ones we had suppressed over the years came out when we got sober, and these extreme feelings made it difficult to think straight and our actions were awkward, scratchy and difficult. Every day was full of grit and fellowship was a sanctuary…
Alcohol had made us very unwell. Understanding that I had an illness, an affliction was so difficult, and my denial was like a brick wall. I still have to remind myself on a daily basis that alcoholism takes away my emotional and spiritual freedom if I were to relapse. Drink and drugs, when we are addicted and still under their sway means our feelings are extreme our thinking is extreme and our actions usually extreme. The number one amend, to stop drinking and find emotional and spiritual freedom one day at a time…
The amend which makes all amends possible, to stop hurting ourselves which makes it possible to stop hurting other people, to stop thinking we know better about ourselves and what other people should be doing. When we stop trying to control others and find sobriety, other people stop trying to control us inappropriately. If we are fortunate and through time we repair the wreckage of the past where possible. And we have a chance to become equal and right sized with everyone around us…
I am 56 years old today, over eight years sober and learning more about life each day than I ever did in my drinking days. My sister, suggested when I first embarked on sobriety with the fellowship of AA was very supportive. She said something like, "treat it as a new education with people in the University of life, new life one day at a time." And the University of life, emotional and spiritual means I can make progress, and fortunately never graduate and find serenity possible one day at a time…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Step 8 Daily Reflections August 14: Repairing the damage ~ We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves. If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes. Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. [AA big book]
Making a list of people I had harmed was not a particularly difficult thing to do. They had showed up in my Fourth Step inventory: people towards whom I had resentments, real or imagined, and whom I had hurt by acts of retaliation. For my recovery to be thorough, I believed it was not important for those who had legitimately harmed me to make amends to me. What is important in my relationship with God is that I stand before Him, knowing I have done what I can to repair the damage I have done."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
Amends take time. An amend to self, accepting I need make every amend I can to those I have harmed emotionally, and any other where restitution is key. It is my 55th birthday today, and few years older than I would have been had I carried on drinking. Yesterday, being part of fellowship and sharing, and today chatting with family by phone. Amends take many forms, learning to love, be loved back and useful in the moment of now...
August 2008 ~ 2010
Repairing the damage... we did not know it was self will run riot, self-obsession, or obsession about people, places and things. And there was denial too, as we self-harmed, we were open to harm done by others as well as love from others. As we live the steps, right people and right places become part of our lives today
Amends as we may just for today... as we live and practice the steps, the right people, places and things remain in our lives, as do the new right people, places and things. Amends can be inclusion or letting go. No more hanging on to grudges or righteous resentments, forgiveness is always key today...
Publish August 14 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In The Life’ August 14 2007
Only a few minutes away from my fifty first birthday. Life has improved over the last year, even tho’ the severity of some elements of living become harsher. There is hope these days.
Hope - I have Hope
Now past midnight And I am officially fifty one years old. I feel fine, more to write in the morning. The news today so far so good.
Below is my entry for last year this day. I am glad I kept a journal, so much of living lost in forgetful moments that turn into lifetimes..
Being summer here in London, England, the weather is typical of August - rain wind and stormy conditions. Just right for a relaxing birthday. And caution always when it comes to birthdays, celebrations for me? Peaceful, reflective and not too much stress.
I had a hypo last night, and this was my fault, I had been out, forgetful to check my blood sugars and ended up in a bit of a state at the end of my meeting of AA.
Hypo’s and Requests
They happen. A friend was hell bent on asking me to do a chair at the “High Noon” Friday AA meeting in Eaton Square. As they were asking I was asking them to stop asking! Hypo’s knock me out literally if I don’t get my blood sugars up with something sweet like orange juice, or sweet biscuits.
Communication and Anger
Like anyone I was cross with myself for feeling on the brink of passing out, at the same time the reasonable request was far from reasonable as I could hardly think and standing was my only real intent.
We fellows in AA, still self oriented can be rude and unthinking. And as I could not listen, my fellow and friend could not help themselves asking and demanding a reply.
They got a yes when I had calmed down later and had gotten home, and an apology from me about my shortness of temper. They were unperturbed.
Today 14 August 2007 - 51 years old
Seems ok so far, just after 8:00 am. Looking back at the last couple of years seems appropriate.
Progress not Perfection
Seems like this has been the real key. From deep and lasting clinical depression to some respite presently. Depression of this nature does not go away, it comes and goes, not reacting to anything except chemical changes that occur subtly and cause devastating low moods which can last for long periods. Presently in respite a while.
I am adapting to changes, it seems to me. Walking not so good, cycling an answer to mobility. Type 1 Diabetes, oft called the silent killer, managed reasonably just for now, although, like last night it felt like end of the world as the hypo brought on not just physical but mental incapacity and I am still feeling slighty out of it this morning.
The backbone of my living today. I am in recovery and now feel firmly where I belong, a day at a time.
News of Friends
In my fellowship good news as most feel ok, some not so and some connections needed to keep abreast of changes for others.
Cards from family this year are really appreciated, better than ever for their sentiment and their truth. Many years I slumped in utter despair of life, not so today. And care needed for my family and to be there as I may and be there these days. Sober, more than I can ever imagine as the struggle for survival once lost long ago is back a day at a time.
I am happy to be powerless in my approach to people, places and things. It is insanity to believe we control or have any more influence in this world than another. And why on earth would we want to? Most likely because we fear what we don’t understand.
And learning so much more of life, Nature and Providence..
What a turnaround from the broken and near “done for” shell of some years back. Not bad for me and my outlook today.
What would I change?
Now a redundant question as life is as can be. I have love in my heart, love from and to this spectacular ordinary extraordinary existence. So precious by the moment and yet we often treat ourselves badly, we never really realise our part in living till its almost done or we are done for.
The only place to be
Beyond my wildest dreams. Ignorance is not bliss, not knowing what I don’t know, well for now I am happy with choices to live with what I need and let go wants which stir nothing but ego..
If I stick with making the best of this day, then I may be here same time next year, older happier maybe, wisdom gained and life shared as we may.
August 14 2006 Providence at Fifty [ Journal 2006]
let it be
Day one of a month in recovery. The next thirty days are about what life is like in recovery from addiction to alcohol. Unedited and raw. Without prejudice and without malice, as life happened, this addendum, 15th September 2006...
So here I am at 50 years of age. It is a surprise to have made this particular birth date. Beyond my wildest dreams? I have mentioned my birthday in fellowship meetings, this milestone is important to me I now realise. Not because it’s a significant age these days, but a significant age for me to reach. The amount of damage done over the years meant this age was not attainable with the adopted lifestyle I had in my work and personal life for a long time. And only with recent changes has this birthday been possible.
As I take stock, do my personal inventory, the odds of living this long have been narrowed and made so by me and my environment, by circumstance and by a willingness on my part to participate in life to the full extent of what I learned over the years growing up and doing the right thing. Full of excess, now my regime has changed to the good in so many ways. To the good of living, and not to the good of the lifestyle encouraged by environment and by everything society pushed my way.
Its been a bleak year. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on top of clinical depression and the ongoing recovery programme from addiction have made many elements of living new and difficult. The bad news accepted and changes in place to do all the right things associated with recovery have helped me get to my fiftieth birthday.
Good days have been scarce, bad days have been plentiful. As time has gone on and an honest appraisal of now is made, overall progress in the mechanics of new living have been achieved. The mechanics of living, daily recovery regime in place and kept, monitoring and control of my blood sugars and diabetes made as each day informs me what I can do and cannot do without rocking the boat, and the ever present depression.
Overall I can give myself a gold star for some elements of the mechanics of living. And at the same time the benefits of doing mostly the right thing has kept me from poor regime control and poorer outcomes than the one I have. If being alive is one criteria for success then I am here and a great job done.
With regard to how I have felt, its has been as hard a year as any other and without resort to find oblivion. As time has gone on and with changes to medication so necessary, and dietary regime changes as my body has responded differently to what I eat, I have lost a lot of excess weight which had made life almost impossible.
The down side of day to day living? Depression has played a major part. Depression has made life black and grim, full of anxious moments and sometimes erroneous judgments of my living which have felt so bleak, its not been worth living. Yet I have persevered. And my judgment generally has suffered as usual as almost psychotic moments have led to extreme views on my world and the close world of me and people I know.
Recovery has kept me safe from harms way. My self harm. And at the same time has afforded much understanding of the human condition, my own and that of people as a whole. Recovery has sharpened my awareness of some things and made it possible to view living differently. We talk of life as a gift, and most everyone sees life as a gift. Were it always so, I might then be imbued with a core of warmth and core of well being. Depression takes away that secure and faith driven inner core, tears out and rips up the hymn sheet to spiritual enlightenment. Enlightenment about just living has become more easily understood and the difference between emotional, spiritual and physical well being have been made more sharp and comprehensible.
For the first time in months, some pleasure has been derived in just mentioning I am fifty today. And I recognise there are two parts for me. I have no desire for a celebration or a big party to see this day through, as others might, well maybe they do. And I don’t want much more mention beyond these words, as from now the certificate of achievement is purely a physical passing of time.
In the emotional appraisal of me, my emotions are there, they are still in development. I used to consider I had an emotional maturity. I did in relation to the world and people I encountered and now I find my terms of reference have altered, and I am not back to square one entirely, but I now see without filters made and denial so strong about the right and wrong of living for me, I have opportunity to grow again. Learning again with the benefit of hindsight certainly is improving my outlook emotionally, and its tough with a clinical condition on top. I need see things through my eyes and the eyes which I used to have and another pair, the eyes of recovery. So although I have achieved much in experience, how experience helps is informing me that life is there and much more to be learned. I learn every day, progress and not perfection.
Of my spiritual nature, the self inflicted wounds plus those of society and the regimes of living I had, they have certainly made for a spiritual journey I did not anticipate. Tested time and again, beyond endurance sometimes, and without the benefit of filters, the burn of living badly is all too easy to feel. My spiritual desert has turned into an oasis of pain and joy. When I do the right thing I feel better about the day. When I do the old way of living, the burden is so great I might collapse with shameful discontent, and then accept my distortions and promptly admit progress is needed. An imperfect world with imperfect views, mine is another to add as time allows me to learn from mistakes and mishaps made by me.
I wondered with the passage of time whether I was becoming some sort of Guru to others. I am not, I am merely becoming better at understanding me and my path to enlightenment. I recognise an equality in the spiritual stakes I had not really understood until recent months. We are all gifted with our spiritual core from birth, it is the same and opportunity and attitude towards living and our choices enable our spiritual development to its capacity. There is no greater capacity than the day, this day and our connection to providence, nature and what there is.
I have become aware of bogus encounters with many deluded and mostly wanting more than their allotment of spiritual enlightenment. Ego’s drift, that haphazard malady we all have will enlighten some to God like glory in their own known universe. Sadly that universe is as small as them. So we have Gods in the making, but only as far as their eyes can see. My eyes tell me we enter our life in a state of Grace, and we get opportunity to use our capacities spiritually as life offers opportunity, and around this are choices according to our nature and nurture. No one has God on their side and no one is God’s representative.
As to predictive and all matters regarding our grip on future events.. Some will argue strongly for their craft to understanding the cosmos and all it has to offer. Some will recognise our true size in the real universe and some will be tempted to suggest they have an understanding of the fate of each and everyone mankind can manufacture. With appreciation and understanding we can predict much of humanity and its development. It is not a hard science, yet wisdom enables and faith in this matter disables in my opinion. Just one opinion mind so don’t use me a guide. My view of all matters where we get spiritual, is from Providence and what providence does is set a backdrop, and then we have our choices to enslave ourselves or set ourselves free. As was suggested by William Lovelace, "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage".
Yet I find with some alarm that many I encounter apply a cage to their living as if its not hard enough to get enlightenment. And the trap of and allure of being in Ego’s drift offers humanity a certain quality beyond our true gifts and spiritual living.
I guess this is called a moral inventory of some others and its been a hard lesson for me to stop judging the behaviour of others and just judge my own behaviour on the planet. I still resolve to get tough with those in public life offering their opinion as their gospel, for in the public arena we are free to challenge, and still keep to the good of good conscience. Silence is no help where our Ego so inflated offers salvation when in fact slavery is the true outcome.
Our modern world is enslaving and forever making our living more constrained, more onerous and less liberating as we find we cannot free our minds to find out our true purpose. If we allow our stone walls to be put in place, we are somehow lost to purpose and Providence.
I mentioned in a meeting yesterday, I had some gift as a fixer in the world before all my life went into freefall and all manner of disasters. And actually I was gifted in fixing things, people, places and things. And then I had realised that the world I had fixed was so small it was insignificant to the majesty of the true sized world, the universe and all that. That the world I controlled was so small it had no purpose and I was merely holding it and manipulating it, and I had misunderstood the dimensions and true purpose of living. The spiritual gift of accepting this big universe where I am powerless, where I am a part of it and not a controller of it. It is humbling to recognise my true size and my purpose as Providence offers, that is a great wisdom understood and learn merely a day at a time.
And ego, the drift to ego will always offer me alternative views and revisions and yes buts to the real world. I best heed the process of denial, such an essential necessary process we all have does not kill my spiritual appreciation of this world, people, places and things.
I also shared I am glad to have lost most of material wealth, in fact having nothing and purely enough to get by, adequately and without luxury has taught me a whole lot.
Another saying "the usefulness of any vessel is in its emptiness" or as it is written somewhere else:
"Thirty spokes join together in the hub.
It is because of what is not there that the cart is useful.
Clay is formed into a vessel.
It is because of its emptiness that the vessel is useful.
Cut doors and windows to make a room.
It is because of its emptiness that the room is useful.
Therefore, what is present is used for profit.
But it is in absence that there is usefulness."
- Tao Te Ching
And for me, I have been empty of much over my life and full of other commodities I find once had value and have no more. In the loss and emptiness I realise the usefulness for the next part of my life. It is merely a day to day development. A simple wisdom gathering and opportunity to make the most of the day.
How shall I cross the Oceans of this Earth? This is my misquoted line used over and over as a mantra and reads as this in the ancient text,
"I would cross the oceans, mountains, wilderness, forests and the nine regions of the earth in a single step, O Musan, for the Love of my Beloved. O Musan, the Light of the Lord's Love has spread across the sky;"
And as an inspiration to spiritual healing and development I see a path ongoing and forever in these words. And find myself truly as Providence offers.
Interpretation of life is certainly the key to living. And we are gifted as we are. And without doubt many will inform and give us inspiration. We need apply ourselves to our learning and life as we can and opportunity offers. We are what we are.
Life on life’s terms, we might be better placed and develop spiritually through our informed wisdom and keep open our minds to opportunity and science. Our belief and faith is not undermined by new discoveries. We are merely enslaved to doctrine and philosophy as they bind us and hold back our imagination and wandering spirit. Acceptance is the key to enlightenment and life, as life is in reality.
The true gift we have in all our endeavour is love. How we develop our conscious awareness and capacity to love. Our spiritual connection to living and life is truly embodied in love, from Providence and life lived we have our spiritual connection. A day at a time.
Love, our core and our spirit, forever and ever, beyond all measure and developing always as we encounter ourselves and in all our endeavour. Let it be..
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