August 21 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "stability emotionally and spiritually by being involved in service, unity and recovery…" Emotional stability! It's a bit like asking what is normal in terms of emotion and knowing what they are. At least these days I do know how I feel and what my feelings are about… Usually coping with the reality of now and not exploding over past issues and experiences… And sharing how this works for me…
Video For Today:
Hospital appointment today, I wrote a three page report to help the consultant. I never know which consultant I am going to get, THIS TIME THE "TOP MAN." He is pragmatic and helpful, listens and understands what I'm saying. And very fortunately for me he points out exactly the same issues I have with the national health service, how it has become hamstrung by politics and the stupidity of government. He knew what he could do and couldn't do and found serenity and wisdom knowing the difference… Just like me!
Hooray! My blood sugars and averages have come down by 1% which is quite good, but quite a way to go and progress is happening. Step one, powerless over chronic conditions and if I become neglectful my life will be shorter and unmanageable. Step two, it is okay to remind professionals of the insanity of sticking to their professional expertise without taking the general overview into consideration. Step three, let go, share my concerns and ask the help… And a good result, helped and ultrasounds to follow…
With the steps in mind, my hospital appointment could have kicked off all my step six defects of character, fear and ego rising, knowing I am about to hit my head against a brick wall, but instead taking account of step seven and asking for help to have some courage to share and change, faith that I might get one thing resolved which I did and make sure I did not undermine the self-esteem of the consultant who I admire professionally and I also kept my confidence with getting some help and a diagnosis in the future…
Sharing about how the steps work in daily living helps me find balance in every day. Step one powerless and don't try control people, step two to try new things, and not madly do the same old same old. Step three let go of my way and ask about other ways to get on with life today. Step four, be aware when my resentments might start. Step five, keep on telling the truth daily. Step six when my defects can help me fly off the handle, step seven working on my shortcomings which is having the confidence to share and be equal with people. Step eight be ready to make amends if I need to. Step nine make amends if necessary without doing harm. Step ten and spotcheck any time of day inventory. Step eleven meditate and pray whenever necessary. And step twelve, live, breathe and share life today in all its imperfectly perfect glory, the good, the bad and the ugly…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "August 21: We just try... My stability came out of my trying to give, not out of demanding that I receive. [The best of Bill]
As long as I try, with all my heart and soul, to pass along to others what has been passed along to me, and do not demand anything in return, life is good to me. Before entering this program of Alcoholics Anonymous I was never able to give without demanding something in return. Little did I know that, once I began to give freely of myself, I would begin to receive, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all. What I receive today is the gift of “stability”, as Bill did: stability in my A.A. program; within myself; but most of all, in my relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. [Ghandi: "God is Truth" Truth in the moment of now, God is Love & God works Through people.. what we come to believe is our personal understanding and not something imposed by anyone upon another human on their path of life today, faith in truth, love and wisdom may be where we start with a higher power than our own outlook]"
DonInLondon 2005 2011
Atheist, agnostic or believer in God, by design we are built to live in the moment. Whether it is nature, evolution, a grand design we have instincts. And we have emotions. If our emotions or feelings fit the present moment, most often we are in reality? Today we may travel somewhere and wonder how we got there, or we may enjoy the journey or be on autopilot. Twelve steps keep me more grounded in the journey and reality and in the moment today...
London still in shock after riots, less people out and about at night enjoying the sights and sounds and the feel of the city is different. I am grateful for where I live, hope life returns to normal, that extraordinary ordinary heartbeat. And very grateful I have fellowship to keep me safe, more willing, open and honest. Service comes in many forms, unity and recovery inside and outside fellowship. Part of the bigger society today...
August 2008 ~ 2010
12 steps to live well take action and learn from experience. We simply try to be ourselves and share the message of experience strength and hope. In fellowship we lean on the many, never just one. As we may tumble we need the many hands of AA to help guide us to safe ground, today and every day...
In fellowship we help as we may. We are all equal in our rights and responsibilities. We may suggest, never instruct, we may shudder at another’s path, it is not our own. Always: freedom of choice, the path of spiritual and emotional well-being. Always rocks and hard places as well as joy, maybe all today …
August 21 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Anonymous Is Important
Apologies for anyone looking for my you tube addition last night, I was late home and not in the right frame of mind to share the days events..
Anonymous was the subject last night of our fellowship of AA meeting. We cover steps of change and traditions of AA in the home group meeting where I make the tea for everyone. So just now being of service to others, as with every day, helps me find my way in sobriety.
Tradition 11 Anonymous
All about keeping people safe and able to find their truth without prying eyes I guess. it’s a lot more than this.
For me the question of remaining anonymous was over when I realised most of my old neighbours seemed to be in AA. And as a result I have not been that bothered about whether people view me as a recovering alcoholic, or one to be watched, helped, ignored or generally avoided because of my killer disease.
Alcohol kills people like me in active addiction. Makes me a potentially far better person in recovery. I like to feel I am making progress a day at a time.
Anonymous for me keeps people safe and affords them a place to resolve how to live without drink anymore.
Anonymous affords a sanctuary to talk out my living and find my truth and how to live again a day at a time.
Anonymous does me no favours if I have a problem and seem drunk when in fact I am having difficulties medically from type 1 diabetes.
Anonymous does not protect me from myself. And also if I fall off the wagon, I am better off people knowing generally I have a problem which needs help.
Anonymous only protects a false premise that AA can save your life. AA can help us maintain recovery and sobriety, we have to work hard to keep sober a day at a time. So we have fellowship and sanctuary to talk out our problems.
Anonymous is not a cover to hide, it is merely a safe place to discover truth.
In the old days people were fearful what others might think if they were trying to be sober and then had a lapse.
Most people in AA are prone to lapse and drink again IF: they lose sight of sobriety. And we are very human and AA is a bunch of ex drunks trying to stay sober.
Ex drunks know more than any that a drink is never far away. Even if like me we have a very few years of sobriety, we know we are human just making progress and not perfection.
Some in AA like to keep it mysterious? Not really, they just prefer to keep themselves happy and quiet in their living.
Anonymity is sacrosanct for me? Although I have no problem sharing ups and downs in my life, and even if I did drink, secrecy about it would surely kill me as I hide away. For others though who prefer a quiet and private recovery anonymity is key. And to find our truth we need safe places to meet and share our truth, anonymous is absolutely our intent and our requirement.
Truth is spiritual in this moment. Anonymity affords us time to find it, live the truth and get on.
Alcoholism kills people every day. It need not claim me today. I prefer people know me, warts and all. Or how else could I be your friend, a fellow and helper, or supporter.
What you Think of Me
If you are fearful of me in my recovery and day at a time living. Or think I am less than you, or just plain prejudiced against recovering alcoholics? That’s fine, you will avoid me and I am happy you do. If you want to be a friend and have reason beyond to find sobriety? Call me for friendship, call AA for recovery!
Above all if you want sober living call AA and see what you can do.
And finally on anonymous, people who need it have it mostly. Our fellowship is a bunch of people trying to live the same as everyone, a day at a time. Anonymous is sanctuary to find that elusive daily path to peace and happiness… progress not perfection!
August 21 2006 [last years journal]
We all need Feedback
No Gentle Art
Being driven bonkers by insomnia, I do write a lot of words. It stops things going round and round in circles in my head. Sometimes I make sense. You should see some of the other mad things I write from time to time. I can hardly string two words together sometimes. Writing some words down helps.
Thoughts and ideas and suggestions are never wrong. They are just thoughts and feelings, and they deserve to be read or said somewhere. Practice helps us find understanding.
My silence for so long meant I had so much stuff to sort, I wrote pages of things even I feel are hard to understand. Even now often I go back and look and laugh at things I don’t get and I wrote them!
Anything I write is open for debate. I write a lot, so sometimes it reads like I know a lot. I know as much as anybody I guess. I guess, and am used to trying to express my thoughts. I am as good and useless as everyone when it comes to expressing feelings.
Feelings, how to share them? I will be a learner all my life in this area of living. So please never feel I have any better knowledge or viewpoint. All viewpoints are welcome, and saying what you feel is just perfect, however the words come out.
I have lived in London most of my adult life. Not always though. When I was a kid, there were a lot of things I recall to the good and the bad. The good of being small, living in a small village in the North, and being just loved at home, all those things tumble about in my head even now. And times let some things fade and grow dark as memory holds no particular sway. Other parts of small life, being small and living in a small world are very easily recollected as signs to safety and signs to danger.
What we choose to remember and is lost to immediate recollection, we have no particular filter until maybe its relevance comes back to haunt our present. We all have dark and light memories. And some things we would prefer never to have inside us.
I forget and then need to remind myself, as growing up we change our perspective on our memories. Memories as small child form and keep us to safety, we learn our patterns of trust and danger. We learn those elements of living which are acceptable and to the good and normal in our world and we live with everything we are. As we are small our perceptions are those of an innocent in a world much more grown up than we ever are. And our eyes and senses drink in everything and like a sponge hold to saturation and keep learning.
Our judgments and our behaviour are guided by our nearest, and our conduct made what it is by our environment. We don’t have much judgment of what is good or bad, what is right and wrong and we learn. And what we learn to enjoy and expect and understand is part of living. We don’t know if all we learn and enjoy is right or wrong until maybe later.
So as we live as children, mostly we have our ways set by our environment. And lucky for me, with parents who knew the right path, my life inside family very young was good. Love and care, and nurture were even when I look back now, as good as could be. The gift was love and care, even in those days when times were hard and money short, and life was hard. Up to being a small kid and going to primary school. And most likely my world was safe as could be until then.
Then I got rubbish teaching and rubbish experiences as life outside family reflected much of what we all get. Society back then was turgid and changing fast, just like now. A rude awakening that other lives are not so full of love and care. And the teaching was awful and the attitudes and the way we were treated, it was pretty bad. It was a shock I reckon as I soon got to know the difference between family life and school life and all the exposure we get to everyone else and their life experiences.
I recall much of my world went from safe to dangerous as I turned four or five. And it stayed that way for years.
Its important to remember that when we are young we learn from what we encounter. And that the judgment we have today is through an adults eyes. When we look back at what happened to us as kids, we need remember our judgments of times back then is an adults judgments, not that of a child. And when we are adults we judge with the full weight of what we know about the world, and we can judge ourselves well, and badly. For we often see in our past bad things, things we did not know were bad until much later.
So when we look back, we need understand that some things we experience as kids, then judged by us will make us recoil in shock and wonder how it ever happened to us and why we might have wished or acted differently. We could not because as kids we don’t know any better and we are guided by our time and place and what is happening.
And we need to remember who was in charge back then, not us for sure. And that what we do as kids is kids stuff. And not with an adults knowledge and judgment or code of behaviour.
Some kids hurt me back then, and they must have had bad experiences. Some kids were just fun to be with and we pick and choose our playground friends as we do, through fun and more fun. And we run from the things which hurt us, or we get bullied and made the scapegoat of others pain and suffering. Its been that way forever and nothing changes I reckon.
Somehow through it all I got a good sense of fair play, a code of behaviour for adult living and preference for all things fun and less than fun. There is much to torment me from those times, and I’ll write about that one day, maybe…
Thanks to K T, and you know, your suggestion is just right, although it scares me to interfere and challenge authority. I have this thing with authority. I spent a lot of years being a champion of rights and other people’s causes, most often behind the scenes and away from any sort of scrutiny or notoriety. And as long as it was never directly about me, or me being self serving I worked a lot of good. I somehow was able to get life better along the way for many others. I was absolutely rubbish though when it came to asserting my own situation and position. Its been a thing in me from early days.
My meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening. The morning meeting had quite a few new people in it. And its good to see new people coming along. They are quite surprised by the open sharing and discussion of all things to do with living. And that is just the way it is. Some, one or two may come back quickly and some will recoil from the honesty of what we do. It is a lot to take in when new to trying a different way to live.
I was surprised at my reaction to the topic chosen for debate. Someone wanted to talk about their need and desire to go back to controlled drinking. Now as a subject, it’s a bit of a "no brainer" for the average sane person. As a sane person, you know that an addict cannot drink anymore. But as an addict you want to keep on going. So while the debate in my head is over (a day at a time) and I have to smile here, it was on others minds and is all too often. We all want to have the will to control everything. And this particular person had a life which involved drink and much more where all friends and living had drink as an element. So they were keen to discuss if it were possible to control and drink a bit.
So initially, I had a surge of anger, as I’d have rather talked about me! And that was not about drink of course, well not today. Anyway I smiled at myself, and listened with a tired head to what others had to say. But the angry feeling was persistent, as it seemed a futile discussion. Yet it helped me realise my preoccupation with my own worries was as strong as this persons worries and their desire to get back to their life and friends and be the person they were before drink smashed it to bits.
Then a few moments of me thinking how much effort I have put into changing my outlook and my life. I’ve spent years trying to blot out my pain and used drink for oblivion when depression has been so bad life has been intolerable. Self harm and oblivion were my only ways to cope for so long, and hearing another’s anguish and need to go back to the madness helped me realise its attraction and danger as much for me as anyone. And this last week has made for miserable living, although a drink was never on the agenda, not wanting to be here at all has been very much on my mind.
Its taken me two solid years of meetings and fellowship just to get this far into a new outlook and years of dipping in and out of the fellowship too. So I realise the topic of discussion is really relevant to me. And the awfulness of the suggestion to control something uncontrollable.
And behind it of course is our feeling about our world and ourselves. Which is why I keep on with the fellowship. It does not help me with drink these days, smiles it reminds me everyday what will happen to return to madness. I keep attending because it’s a place to resolve all my day to day feelings and life in general. Which is why so many in recovery get on with living the ordinary everyone is entitled to live.
So my angry moments helped me understand again how much I need to keep to a narrow path and middle road, and when extreme things happen, to share my woes and my joys too, because there must be some along the way eventually, joys that is.
Anyway I didn’t speak or get chosen to in the meeting, which was good because I reckon I would have been teacher like in my response to the debate, and sanctimonious. And that helps no one, being a smart ass is very unhelpful. And I can be a painful smart ass, something I learned from my Dad, he is forgiven by the way, in all things and all matters and long dead.
After the meeting I bumped into a couple of people I know on my way back home. Not people I see often, but in the fellowship. They both independently asked why I was limping, and I shrugged it off as just a bad day with blood sugar problems and tiredness. It would take too long to explain the pains in my feet and their persistence and the neuropathy etc etc. And I don’t want to be known for my ailments anyway, just for being me. But heck its all me and better get used to it as it will never get better, although symptoms and stuff will vary. A bit of denial there (a lot actually).
I had nearly an hour sleeping after lunch and woke with a start from an old nightmare. Sweaty and confused and a headache, I felt like I was hung-over, and that’s due to the insomnia and recent events and the conditions I suppose.
Anyway the meeting later was useful too, and had chats with fellows I have got to know over the last couple of years. And they take me as I am. And they help me put context on my situation, for they all seem to know my stuff these days. And of course have their views on what I need to do. And one said just be patient, and I think she is right overall, as others were full of the reactions I have too.
I am in new territory for me. Trying to make my way just a day at a time. And trying to sort out my head for a change. It is the toughest thing to hold up the mirror, after years and years, where success was plentiful and abject failure to cope with life too. And being reduced to where I am now? Well not reduced in one sense, I am still me, opening up and willing.
We say and I say too, to keep faith with willingness, openness and honesty to guide us. That I can be unwilling, less than open, and downright dishonest with myself over fears I have every day. That I welcome help and feedback, and need points of view. Yes I need feedback even when its most personal and mostly about change, now that is hard to do. And I don’t want you to look at me, especially if you offer me empathy, nasty is what I got used to.
And thinking of the person who wanted to return to their old way of living. That was me for many years before I made some changes, or living at all would have lost as an option. Acceptance of my situation and moving on is the very hardest thing to do, especially as mostly I got by, on how I was made and how I learned to live. These days my eyes and ears and senses are more ready to take on board better suggestions to living than the ones I have used in the past.
I live on my own. It is frightening sometimes when depression really deepens. And the hypo’s in the middle of the night are a worry when they happen, bad enough during the day! I need to be reminded to check situation/stuff often and keep to routine.
Fellowship sustains me today. Along the way, so have my family, beyond all reason I have to say, as decline into depression and then drink on top left a mere shell of me, I lost all sense of living and still they have helped. And more than I can ever express.
Unsung heroes? An old boss from years back keeps in touch, Ian. And others who tried to help and I could not hear them then. And girlfriends and partners over the years. Blimey a lot of them(I am fifty you know)I have lost touch now with all of them, and some have passed on and grief touches me often. Grief a whole way of living to sort out there for most of us as we learn..
Heroes.. And most recently a National Health system which for all its imperfections has some gems of people who know and understand how to help, with all three things that need attention daily these days. Diabetes and the clinic, Clinical depression and the clinic, and recovery and the fellowship. And the fellowship is the maintenance side of living, and the National Health Service the backbone of what made recovery possible at all. It’s a combination thing. And especially local council staff have played their part too, but for them my daily life would be unliveable, my gratitude list could become so long, people just do their best even when they are under the greatest of pressures themselves.
So while I still feel the torture inside, there is much gratitude this morning for everyone and everything which keeps me going one day at a time. And hopefully the misery will subside in its own good time like it does even though it can be months till the mood lifts. And as my friend and fellow said and she is quite right, I need patience and fellowship to help make life work.
So to this day, dark and gloomy, still full of fears as its not too rosy. Just today..
"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 our world by mistake. Until I could accept my humanity, strength and frailty, I could not be complete in living; 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."
Adapted by me, from others who have learned this wisdom for thousands of years, from their living, either or their religion and their philosophies. The words borrowed, the sentiment accepted. In good conscience.
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