August 2 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "we become willing and take action…" In step eight, making the list of amends and being willing to make the list is a real challenge to finding out the truth of what our part in matters has been over the years before and into years in recovery… The emphasis is making the list and being truthful about those we have harmed…
Video For Today:
Being secretive about those things which really burned deep and hurt within, the fearful recollections can be so hidden and suppressed we don't know where the origin of some of our difficult behaviour may be. I recollect well before recovery seeing the effects of rebellion in individuals coming right back to the way a person was treated in their early years, and the same awfulness where individuals were compliant in the worst of situations. Steps four to eight open the door to truth, love and wisdom…
Like all good horror stories which start in childhood, I am reminded when I hear parents say to their children, "I'm going to get you" as part of the chasing game, it could be a real nightmare. "If you don't behave, I'll leave you there" "watch out all the bogeyman will get you!" And behind those words can be love or hate depending on the situation. One child feels the fun another child feels the fear. Secrets from early times can keep us stuck in useless speculation for years and years…
One of my amends to self, remind myself of step two, the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Breaking out of the old patterns, the emotional and spiritual past into the emotional and spiritual present is a truly difficult journey. I do forgive myself when the reminders, ego covering shame and guilt about exaggerated events or things I wish I had done differently. Let out my secrets and I'm free to be me in the moment of now by being strong in my vulnerability today…
I have gratitude that I am powerless over alcohol, and really appreciate being powerless over people, places and things. It means I don't have to control anything but me and my choices. And if I keep my focus on what I can and cannot do today, I am more likely to keep on making choices based on reality. I can ask for help at any time when I'm unsure. And I can choose to be with people who matter and treat me as I treat them today… And let go those who are not good for me…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "Daily Reflections We become willing 2 Aug: At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. [Big Book]
How easily I can become misdirected in approaching the Eighth Step! I wish to be free, somehow transformed by my Sixth and Seventh Step work. Now, more than ever, I am vulnerable to my own self-interest and hidden agenda. I am careful to remember that self-satisfaction, which sometimes comes through the spoken forgiveness of those I have harmed, is not my true objective. I become willing to make amends, knowing that through this process I am mended and made fit to move forward, to know and desire God’s will for me."
August 2 Steps In Action Alcoholics Anonymous
DonInLondon ~ A step 3 chair last night, let go and let good. I say “good” because I need let go knowing all the answers today. Powerlessness over alcohol, people places and things has given me the greatest freedom, to make real choices, just for today…
And making a list of all those I have harmed and being willing to make amends liberates me from the bondage to my past. Holding on to righteous anger and resentments kept me in the insanity of judging the world and history. My part in it… always a revelation as I see it today…
Sharing how we truly feel with our partners and family and community, and dare I say it... work, helps us with not only our spiritual progress, but theirs too. Who would wish to hamper another’s spiritual progress today?
In our AA "daily reflections" , August focus is step eight, making the list of people we have harmed and willing to make amends. Can be difficult, our part, not theirs. Steps for cleaning up our side of the street, not digging up theirs…
Publish August 2 2007
DonInLondon - August 2 2007 ‘Day In the Life’
How Long Can We Be Hanging On?
A good question for me tonight. I skimmed through last years words and found them just as I found myself back then, still in love with love and not maybe, or yes maybe still in love with a ghost of old times. And all the way through these times of loving and hating me more sometimes and wondering I never realised the world moved on as I was stuck, grieving a loss, as others have felt like I did, and had no clue how to let go.
Grieving takes forever and eternity feels like it is never enough time to find that love we lost. An obsession of the mind indeed. I knew in truth all along it was as big as life itself, and I could never let go. Until now..
It is always hardest when we have unrequited love. No amount of thinking and wishing is ever going to change and pull down that idyll in imagined moments and dreams. We let go as we may, and still love plunders our days and times now as times past hold us to fantasies long dead in others.
Even the kindest of words of let go, where passion is paramount and adoration is complete. Yet I see now let go was all I need do and thank them for the times spent and love lavished, indeed there was nothing wrong with me or them, or love per se. We were star crossed lovers and lost to times and hostage to nothing as dreams turned to dust and reality shammed our hearts discontent.
Indeed today as times move us on. I live by the day, see my physical emotional and spiritual well being pretty right sized. Making the best of good, and living. Seeing another shell crack and release the reality in me and douse old flames and passions long spent.
We do lead complicated lives, a kiss and hug in friendship, well it seems pretty ok to me, and loving without conditions and also loving as we may. I see temptations touch as even I in my ordinary state of living can still feel the draw of love beyond friendship and beyond some boundaries made safe by our fellowship and our understanding of living to the good of good conscience. I am safe in fellowship and yet, see each moment can convert safety to another plane where love tips into lovers words and so we find our nature pulls us to desires not yet spent. Desires are there for sure, and love is all around as promised in sobriety. And so is good conscience too!
A Friend of Mine
Still defiant and out drinking regales me with stories of their drunken nights and conquests. And I recollect not so many years before for me, there were many times for me as he has shared. Where wine, women and song were just what life seemed all about. I never shared much about those times as no one really seemed to live as I did in this perpetual state of day to day abandonment. A carefree time for me, with a broken heart to mend. So too for my friend today as his love, she is far away and never to come back. I understand his life and stories shared, I lived them long ago, a never really told a soul back then.
As For Me and ‘La Femme Fatale’
I don’t share too much about those times, not really because of any shame or reluctance on my part. And in the end I would not wish you judge me harshly by those times. I loved with passion as sincere in every moment spent, and then as truth became so clear, that my heart was still broken and would not mend with any new love I found. We cannot replace or fix our spirit, or our emotions lost in calamity or grief. We need mend first and then proceed with life and loving.
And this seems a universal truth as we make our way in life. We are often attracted and find ourselves struck and adore and then realise we are still uncertain if we do let go and love again. For in our heart our worries are we will be abandoned once again. It was so for me for many a year..
I do realise though it has taken me longer than anticipated, as my poor head could not let go too well to old connections and loyalties I would have kept sacred had the times been right for us. And they were not. Bitter sweet those memories now, and acceptance has been the dickens to get along this rocky road of love. I am glad my heart feels mended so one never knows where life will lead.. I am hopeful and smiling when I read these words, there is always time if we choose to make it so.
So Much Reflection
And as times are more open and clear, and choices and feelings are felt as they may. I am glad that life affords an open look at love and where it may lead again. We are never beyond these moments, and still we will be careful I suspect, and cherish as we go.
Enough for today, and just for today, we never know what tomorrow may reveal..
August 2nd 2006 [Last Years Journal]
Drawing a Line under Events from our Past
Our problems from the past. Every day we are growing or relatively stuck in problems from the past. Our main problem with our past is it makes us who we are today. Every element and every nuance picked up as we go. Some things to the good and bad are what makes our recipe for today. And as recipes go, only we know or have the opportunity to remind ourselves of every ingredient.
A heady mixture, a brew which foments through time. We develop as we may and with nurture. We thrive inside or wither this way and that, so we grow as spirit moves and experiences enables.
A letter from an old love. Arrives and before I open it, I know what will be said, and with intuitive mind and experience learned there are no surprises left. Not one? Well maybe one, and that one was accepted. The me known from years ago and even close to now has changed again, as sober living makes for better mixtures and enables my freedom to speak with warmer, closer spiritual presence.
Only a soul lost and redemption, then found might offer such a notion I suspect. As living doles out great swathes of life we never dreamed might be ours. We never dream our lives might have a touch of blight so powerful we might never recover our sense of who we are and find our spirit saved. This spiritual us, its just about the size of every other soul we will encounter on our travels in this life and any other I suspect. In case you are wary where I go with this, I do believe those who fear belief itself might wish to leave right now. Those who have soul and spirit might stay a while.
Our inner us, the good bit inside our good conscience, or bad conscience, for I do believe we can be drawn either way as we journey this life. We move where experience and nurture enable our path to living and experience. We are light and dark, of opposites and our magnetic being draws our life to which way? Well I don’t know quite why it is so, our Ying and Yang, our cache of knowing and being, its tempered by knowing all there is to know of all living may offer. And life will offer both and our choices made through time enrich us completely without prejudice one way or another.
Our reactions are best shared as life develops. And our outlook changes by the moment, we are able to get our nurture to light or dark.
Nurtured to the light we flourish and deem ourselves well made for good. Nurtured to our dark and our path flourishes another way, to depths we might wish were never there in the long game of our spiritual being. Without the dark we would never know the light I surmise, so we journey both ways as life offers.
And with hindsight and with a calmer looking at the reality of me. Well now, there have been many travels in darker climes. And light comes shining through as miserable experience develops knowledge and patterns to my good. Redemption is a mighty experience along the way, or reclaiming to the light is offered any soul imbued with every experience we might live, to being ourselves.
And being ourselves as we learn with hindsight leaves open old memories of us. I shudder at the rawness of my callow living for many a year. That cool and clever shadow man. The half shared and known, the dark was on me back then and I see the superficiality in my life. The actor who would protect the inner me, hidden for decades as that shadows dark made good a life I could live no more and came crashing down as integrity put paid to high life living without any feeling or spiritual connection to this ever present, present. That pull to ego’s drift.
And old loves know as they grow, and see the truth of us back then, we were never right. Right for the time, and not right for this time as experience and hindsight deliver their obvious verdicts and testament to time served living, and becoming what we are today. And in our view today, that slice of us makes us wither inwardly and recognise a half formed entity still without the form or wit to know much of anything we can consider worthy of being.
Our world, we sometimes feel hateful towards it as the opportunity to darker us is left open to our choice. We learn if learning is our goal that we need more than we were back then to fill the gap inside as deep as any dark in any life. And the dark is never filled with earthly gold. As spirit is our destiny in our real journey towards who knows? Not me..
Acceptance is the key:
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."
I find it somehow comforting to know that the spiritual me which got stuck in time back in the 1960’s or 1970’s somehow comes out and starts to grow again. The odd thing in life is timing works as it might and our growth is certainly apposite.
We need our hard knocks and dark to make sense of light and every shade of what we are through our living. It is a great worry for me that many people never find the path or have opportunity as afforded me. And yet that’s life on life’s terms. I do wonder if we stick around too long. Just a notion not half formed here. Without the benefit of modern science I would be dead a year or more, and that is just this time. And without modern science I would expire quite quickly as my ongoing health depends not on nature but man made science.
Certainly acceptance offers nothing beyond the process of getting to grips with reality. And reality is awkward where we have learned to offer our God like view on living. And we are not Gods for sure, and our views merely the equal of others and their experience.
And it is to experience we must turn to make sense of where we are today, best not done in isolation or we find the path becomes more Godly and God driven in our sanctimony. We need share our experience and understanding so we might inform it and make our perception grow, to its full size, only to our capacity and size equal to our nature, the size of our soul and everyone’s capacity is about equal. Its simply we just get better connections as we develop, we don’t get bigger or better at this than anyone else, just merely more adept in our own journey.
And in acceptance today, I see my view is merely one of many. My view on my living and where I am today is not the view of yesterday, last night or last year. It is improved as letting go the dark grip of ego’s drift unwinds and lets me free to see the wonder of our Universe, and its opposite. And how I choose to move along, its where I best deploy and make good living.
And the letter which like any letter from my dearest love of times past, now far away, is full of everything we know, and takes me with acceptance to another part of journeying. I accepted completely every word, and grimace deep and hold my view to words I have said in heated insanity, as then not now and thank the good in me to see the desperate soul who might make sense of insanities experienced. Those grim times afforded pain beyond measure and without intent it would ever be that way.
Indeed, my insanity over the years is long. And of my old loves quest, well I am glad in many ways her path has found another route to developing her soul and all that makes life to the good. It is not my path or choice, and realise our difference, and our similarities too. Her views hold good about the future that would have been, I agree with hindsight’s gift.
Had I been less than half of what I am, and she too, then we would never have known what we know now. Hindsight masks our trepidation and healing as we learn our new elaborations as time indeed gifts experience in all elements of life, to our good and where it takes us next who knows.
Acceptance is the key today without a shadow of a doubt. It is just so, and there is no argument. And there is no argument of now. As there was back then and never to understand quite why it had to be the way it was, it just was I realise now, well that’s ok I guess and it will be forevermore. And the difference is far more beneficial for us both.
And with this key, the door is unlocked and open to today, where with softer brush with life and experience lets me see, every element we have will come back to me. We will be forever tested and develop our acceptance as we go.
Acceptance is a daily maintenance as we are prone to develop to our ego’s drift. And I am no stranger to that drift to shadow and the Ego man. And we will never quell a part of us we need to understand the light, its there as part of who we are, and never to be left indifferent.
As I do draw the line, and approach the 50th year of living. I realise that we have every element of feeling inside for very good reason, that the journey remains as difficult day to day as it is for any other. And that serenity is merely one day long. And acceptance practised is an art and never to be left too long or we return to insane moments all too quickly as we vie with memories and make them part of this day…
And when I remember how we loved back then, and now we are apart, as the line was drawn back then, to where we are now is different. And we cannot judge either way. For in essence since that line was drawn, we both moved far from what we were, to new being and being ourselves. And development moves at its own pace and where it will on experiences no longer shared or understood. So it is. And judgment is no good. I know I moved so slow to sober living and my journey moves at its own pace, a frustration no longer feared by me, it just the way it is.
And that pull to Ego and the shadow is evoked as we listen to our disharmony, and old things left too, as if tick tock, a time bomb ready to explode or not. We let go and let the good of all come to our ever present, present. The shock of our past although so harsh to touch our innards and make a cold sweat bead, well that is quite right in my opinion about me and my conduct. I need my reminders of the dark, and the of hellish moments to remind me of everything I have been and how I wish to be, of course to the good!
It is so, and now I realise let go, and go. Smiles I don’t know where. It matters not.
Maybe just better able in acceptance now, to make this day the day, and just for today. Someone said, and then everyone says, we need live this day as if it were our last. And we need then find no regrets. And this is true, and in most days we can live as we might. As simple souls of truth.
This does mean we are forever working to our good, or that we agree or understand our world and others in it as we learn to let it be. As we are equal to it, so is everyone to their present capacity and connection. And often we will find our path is not as simple or straightforward as life is just simply how it is. And we can live to our principles and values along the way.
And when we move to shadow times and drift to ego we will find our defiance comes full tilt our way. And in defiant mood we push our views, ill formed and likely only good that moment. And then we find our acceptance comes and keys us to the truth of this day. And only this day, for we change again. And we are not good held hostage to our history, and I feel I have done this far too much with all connections in insane days of living.
Growing up? Maybe just a day at a time. To where, is a good question and have no answer. How and what and why, as Kipling was ready to help us, we can ask ourselves and find answers along our journey.
So with acceptance in my heart and with greater understanding how I may be a more complete being, I move along a day at a time. Happier without solid and easier in the grip of nothing but life itself.
When I judge, it makes me recognise I can judge myself, and get a better view when I share and work it through. And I hope as I am losing my grip on ego’s drift and shadows in the mirror are less dark, there is progress and not perfection.
When we grow and develop notions to our experience and abilities, its merely our own view, where more views help form our overall understanding of living. And to happenstance and obvious things we can hold and let go bigger notions of our powerful selves. For indeed my powerless self works the best.
I will always use my faculties, and we need not remove our common sense, or work to programmes where we will not flourish. And we make the best of what we have in our sober living. And that’s a gift I cherish.
Hold no one person hostage to their history of other times. Unless they stay the same and offer nothing but their duplicate. And we might be better judged this way too. As harm done is undone with time.
There is probably one area of living which is still going to bother me. And this is not because I don’t want to do something, its because I don’t think I have any right to do it. Its about forgiving. And this is not meant to be hard I feel, its to do with powerlessness.
I do somehow get the understanding that I cannot judge others per se and find acceptance helps tremendously. Not judging others means I cannot really form opinion or hurt. Yet events have hurt so deep, I realise they do because I truly was incomplete and Ego pushed me to forgiveness of me and others. I don’t know or wish to try to mend that rift in me right now in my feeling.
I don’t hurt anymore, as if that’s an answer. And this forgiving thing we have well, as has been commented throughout time
" to err is human, to forgive is divine"
And as forgiving seems to be in the God like department, I don’t qualify. As far as life offers me the opportunity to accept life on life’s terms and that people must be as they are, that is a done deal.
For me, whatever I have done life, has been part of a journey. The cost and recognition of every right and somehow wrong part, the good is recognised to the light. The dark of me and my behaviour in this world is my constant reminder and constant companion. My consequences in a restoration to sanity, is to accept how others might view and treat me with suspicion or trust according to what they know of me. As I am today most of all and I have my deep and profound feelings of shame and guilt when times need apply them. I am never going to more sorry for hurt caused, for that sorrow is my mine for eternity and a reminder to how I may conduct myself now and in the future.
I do practice forgiveness every day, and still wonder at my right to do just that, for it implies judgment and power over others I do not feel is ever really in my gift.
Maybe there is a different way of looking at this, its how we behave today and we meet our consequences in our living of the here and now. I meet with regularity others who have worse deeds a plenty, and feel no judgment towards them. For I cannot judge them on their history merely today and how they are with me.
But I do judge every day what is right and comment long and hard on this world and how we are. it’s a hard thing this notion of forgiveness. And I don’t underestimate its importance to many including people who I know. And its still there, as I don’t want to judge anyone in reality, it does not sit well inside me. Its just the way life has turned out and better with acceptance eyes to make my journey work for me.
I must share what I do judge though and sometimes this leads to exclusions in my living. Its when some power is placed on me towards ego’s drift and shadow lands. And where others operate in this dark world, I feel I exclude myself from them. Simply because secrets will kill me stone dead on the path of recovery.
I do judge what is right for me and get a view whenever I can to make sure I don’t judge others too badly on their journey where it will take them, I need not follow as if blind to truth.
This is not a judgment on my dear friend who wrote me, just part of an ongoing debate inside my conscience to the good of living I would hope.
And in good conscience I do draw the line under much of my insanity. As otherwise I would return to madness and darker climes again. We never forget, or lose sight provided we are vigilant each and every day to truth, and through my fellowship I do just that. And what I know in truth we can be bound by whimsy and our ego’s drift to hapless living if we forget to share and live with others views, our equals in every way. That is life.
Connection to our spiritual being is good for just today realise that now. Merely a thread and know the return to other climes is always near at hand. I am cut down to right sized living, and this my lesson learned.
Just for today, if in good conscience I am allowed I forgive everyone everything completely, and when ego’s drift and that dark shadow in the mirror offers another form of forgiving, I may recoil again in case I assume something I am not.
Maybe love is the key to this particular conundrum, and acceptance of life on life’s terms. And in essence being human with every element we have in our reality.
I know this will not haunt me as a conundrum, for I let go so much, it is merely the stirrings in my memory which lead me back this way again, and my part in living life, the past, and this ever present, present. I too am glad to be nearly there to half a century. Not long a day at a time to the 14th August.
Line drawn? Yes and nothing is lost in the time in between for it shapes my present now, and helps me complete my journey day by day. And are you forgiven?
Absolutely and completely
Me? I am working towards it daily as with most things and will let a higher power than me judge...
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