August 22 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "seeking emotional stability…" I would question whether the goal is emotional stability, or simply the ability to know how we are feeling at any given time in the moment. If I know my emotions are fitting with the experience of now there will be times of instability high moods and low moods and everywhere in between as life is today…
Video For Today:
If we are experiencing happy times, likely we feel good and happy and that is stability. If we are experiencing sad times, likely we feel sad because times are sad, and that is stability. We have a relationship with our environment, people, places and things and there are interdependencies which are always happening. Out of balance, or not stable or just simply unsure of ourselves and our feelings, we can ask for help at any time from any source available, in the moment of now…
Emotional well-being comes from the wisdom of life. The twelve steps help because the principles are all about emotional and spiritual living. Feelings fitting the moment and we are able to cope with reality. How we do this and who we ask the help is a personal matter. A belief in God and everything related that way of life is very helpful. And equally helpful is a belief and faith in knowing and understanding what we can and cannot do, and developing the wisdom to know the difference day by day…
Emotional stability can be a bit of a shock, where life tends to flow and we tend to be able to cope and be okay in the moment of now. From the awful times in the malady and mental illness of addiction, where life and feelings are exaggerated to the point where we cannot cope or find a way out of our problems, we can be quite suspicious about our feelings and by asking for help with them we keep ourselves in the solution just one day at a time…
Life is difficult, we are always under some form of stress, but we are very good at dealing with stress when we share what is going on and ask the help when we need it and even when we don't need it. With the principles in the twelve steps and twelve traditions, we develop a moral code around how to be open honest and willing to keep learning and to keep changing as life changes. With unconditional love always developing, we do find inner peace and tranquillity one day at a time…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "August 22 Step 8: Seeking emotional stability... When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn't very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. [12 & 12]
All my life I depended on people for my emotional needs and security, but today I cannot live that way anymore. By the grace of God, I have admitted my powerlessness over people, places and things. I had been a real "people addict"; wherever I went there had to be someone who would pay some kind of attention to me. It was the kind of attitude that could only get worse, because the more I depended on others and demanded attention, the less I received. I have given up believing that any human power can relieve me of that empty feeling. Although I remain a fragile human being who needs to work A.A.'s Steps to keep this particular principle before my personality, it is only a loving God who can give me inner peace and emotional stability."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
Emotional stability suggests balance in our outlook. Our feelings fit with reality, what we experience right now. If our current situation is stable, our emotions are likely to be stable and we are in the moment of now. When we face extremes, then our feelings are likely to move toward extremes. We find balance in how we react and respond. Feelings inform our thinking, our response then can be more considered than a split second reaction...
Self-Reliance and Interdependence, is always a balance and something we learn every day. When we make decisions which are about us, we may not feel the need to consult day to day. When decisions impact on others we need include them in the decision making. Agreement and acceptance offers empathy and equality. We need not tread on the toes of our fellows today...
August 2008 ~ 2010
We are a part of life, community society, as we gain perspective and see the big picture we are open to all possibilities and not limited to one view or outlook. Life experience and being inter-dependent our world is enriched as we listen and live new experience, strength and hope today. Open to truth and love today...
I need slow down... to now! One step ahead? We need be, to asses risk, be open to future possibilities. All good. And "still myself" to know how I am feeling today, why and what to do. "Still ourselves" to know how we are feeling today, why and what we can do. Together, live now with an eye on the future...
August 22 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ Moving Along
A Good Day
I am still somewhat taken aback by my good fortune and having a more stable place to live. All along in the last decade I have been pretty much homeless and dislocated. And at last I have some where to be. Courtesy of the Local Borough and the hard work and efforts of my Local Council.
Without doubt people in organisations do their best to make possible what is impossible for people like me to find some sanctuary. I am grateful beyond words for all the help given me. I also realise if I were in the shoes of others, I would do as they do, their best under pretty much impossible conditions.
Client Service and Policy
Written into the fabric of Organisation rules these days is this thing called client service.
People in organisations are trained and appraised on their customer client service skills.
In words of performance and efficiency we can find great problems indeed when a service unit is undermanned, under funded and under staffed and under resourced. And still everyone is tasked to give the best service and utilise their best skills and endeavours.
Studies in the 1990’s where organisations turned their policies and procedures to make client service and empowered working the norm tended to produce psychosis in teams and work environments.
Limited resources and efficiency measures made employees do more with less. This was the edict. It empowered people to do more, be multi skilled and still be able to deliver more with less people.
How it works in practice - Psychotic
A person learns to be nice and put the customer first. The rules and operating procedures are re written to reflect the policy and operating procedures. Workers work harder, are nicer and still have more to do with less resources.
People learn to be nice saying no, saying we cannot help, saying its not in our power to change the situation.
Workers and operators are measured on their nice skills, not on the service delivery to the client. So the organisation measures its nice performance rather than its delivery performance.
As everyone in the organisation feels nice about what they do, they don’t realise why they hear nothing but abuse or complaint from customers.
Measurement of Client satisfaction is often done to ensure the organisation is indeed delivering. Unfortunately the only clients that have a voice is the narrower number of clients who get a service. The clients who get nothing and are not in the “survey parameters” don’t have a voice and don’t get asked.
The surveys come back positive, or worse reflect just a limited outlook.
Customer service declines to the overall population of users. Operations staff deal with complaints and often are abused as they try deal with more with less resources.
When the shit hit’s the Fan?
Bosses blame workers, workers blame clients, and everyone is nice to each other with their new service skills. Outside the organisation and inside it, people are still being nice and measured on their niceness. Inside them tho’ they know they are failing and feel mad and embittered. Customers are blamed internally as everyone sticks to being nice as nice is measured as performance and not intent of the service they provide.
Its made worse as the nice measures make everyone work at being nice and still the feeling persists that they are failing.
Empowered and Multi Skilled Working
Workers have some more power, some more skills and yet they cannot achieve more. They are more efficient delivering less to the service user.
Management realise there is something wrong and take power away from the service providers and ride rough shod over empowering multi skilled personnel. Personnel feel bitter and realise the problem all along is the customer or service user, as a feckless group of ungrateful customers who should know better.
Result: Nice Psychosis
And no one feels happy, the position carries along for too long and the service is lost and the clients disappear. Job done? Seems so often.
Because the basic understanding is never made, the connections and delivery are misunderstood. The organisation feels nice but underneath the nice is psychosis. And we all go back to square one some years later when it all starts over again..
August 22nd 2006 [all about last year]
Powerless and Unmanageable - Not Me!
I usually ring my Mum every morning with a hello and how are you? Its good to talk as BT used to say. Actually as both of us are getting on a bit, but it does work both ways round to make sure all is well. For my Mum though she needs to know I am ok, it may seem a little over the top, but she is always concerned to know how things are with me and that my disorderly conditions are being managed well. I think she understands enough of blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections to get the picture fairly quickly. So its easy enough to ensure her peace of mind. My Mum is mid 70’s now and gets a free TV licence which she feels is a good perk for her age. A natural Guru at living and dealing with disabilities, she keeps going although she has a torn ligament and a knee brace to wear at the moment.
About Last Night
Last night was a great meeting for me. It was all about what we call step one of our fellowship programme. Step one of the programme is the hardest thing to get. It is a strange thing this step would seem obvious and easy for any sane person, but to us it’s a bit of torture.
[Talking of torture, I had walked to the meeting, its not far but my feet were on fire by the time I got there. I have the medication now from the hospital to help overcome the pain, and read the instructions carefully. I am putting off taking the Amitriptyline for a couple of days until I have really accepted the side effects I will get as a result. This medication is a long term one and a couple of days more pain won’t make much difference in the long run after months of pain already, not that there is any certainty the effects will be beneficial either. The side effects described are a great worry as usual.]
Our first step in recovery it is suggested ( all things AA are suggestions by the way) we admit we are powerless over alcohol and our lives have become unmanageable.
Seems an obvious thing to admit if we are addicted? Not bloody likely if we are still of a mind to have a few. And of course in the early stages we are of a mind and still running on will power, or more likely our denial of our problem.
Anyway, this step I enjoy, because it’s the key to recovery and redemption. Not an enjoyable thing if you just walk through the door for the first few times though, and with a head like a box of jumping frogs.
Some new people had turned up and some old veterans were knocking about, some with over 20 years sober. So a real mix of new and old. Mind you in our meetings age is not important, some people are in the programme very young and have years more than me in recovery. I learn a lot from younger members who have had the benefit of years maturing more sensibly than me and they afford great advice and guidance dammit. If only I had , that’s what I felt when I encountered the mature and younger brethren at first, knowing more than me, it sort of punctured my ego, which turned out to the good.
Now the detail of the meeting and people is anonymous so some things I mention are just sketchy. Anonymous means we don’t give up information or make comment on particulars. Its important and people have a right to privacy and recovery their way and not in the gaze of anyone. We know that gossip kills and undermines people so we keep things inside to ourselves. So if my generalities get too much sign off.
As usual we have a speaker who relates their story of what step one meant and how they eventually got to a meeting and started with the fellowship. Everything is about truth, experiences, strength and hope.
I was able to relate with the speaker, all the attempts I had made in the recent past once I realised the extent of my problem. From a depressive person fighting to keep the dark out of my life, I had ended up drinking for oblivion as well as England. And strange we all seem to have had something missing or something of a low which kicked off the whole chain of events which led us to our plight.
Most of us have some commonality, something which makes us feel less than other people, low confidence for some reason. And often an ego as big as a house when we are drinking, as drink does make us bolder and able to overcome depression until we get so morbid, not even a dog can stand our company.
And as our speaker related so well, I could understand through their words my story to being there and listening to them. And this horrible admission of powerlessness over the one thing that made the world liveable in the end, drink, and then it took over and crushed me completely. And of course my life was unmanageable for years, after a nervous breakdown and attempts to put life back together and losing pretty much all my worldly ties, people and material things and somewhere to live. And then trying anything and everything, any job, any form of counselling and resort to drink as the last safe place of misery. Drink my best friend, took me over completely.
And these things I remember as the speaker speaks. And its good to hear again and again, a variation on the same theme, that its not just me who got this way, its anyone who takes it too far and has crossed the line of dependence. For some of us its drink, or shopping, or eating, or not eating, or sex, or drugs, or anything which takes us over. Or as usual a combination of things. And there is a fellowship out there for all of those things. There is even one for… I digress. Anyway it was easy to hear myself in the speakers "chair", their words on their path to AA.
And you know we have lots of humour as we hear what we do to try and give up what ails us, and the stories of treatments and will power and all we do to avoid the horrible truth that we are powerless, and life is completely unmanageable. And of course we hide our problems from those who are close.
Our hiding behaviour and our denial of our problem, our lengths gone to, to avoid detection. We are shifty and crafty and shameful when we know we are on the slippery slope. And we hide away our best friend from others. But we are so easily found out. Yet for ages we might be tolerated as often the problem is not so obvious in early stages and our behaviour as a nation forgives much connected with drink. But we know inside our problem, and we deny it as well.
And as related, will power, and the ability to hold our drink, well that always helped keep us active too long. And clubbing (not me in my last days) or running away from things and issues (me completely in my last days) and just plain knackered and brought to our knees as the game is finally up, and we are not quite dead yet. Well, the stories are the same or so similar, we get the message eventually.
And as our speaker related, it takes some a blink of an eye to recognise their malady, and for most like me, it took ages and lots of attempts trying to stop before I ever got to AA.
When I looked around the room at my fellows, the older ones with long time sobriety, to new ones with just a little while like me. Well we all scrub up quite well and have a natural look about us. We don’t look devious or shifty, or worried what you might think of us. We look quite ordinary and generally ok. We all look as presentable as we can afford, and we talk softly and courteously with each other and behave as we are, friends.
And our "new" friends look pretty good as most have some hours or days since a drink. But there are some signs of nervousness and some with the shakes. And that’s normal and we know and help as we can, with a tea or coffee and biscuit and a friendly word.
And this thing we have to get into our heads, about powerless over alcohol and unmanageable lives, its not easy when your head says it completely untrue, and will power will make it ok as we go back out the doors. And my first meeting not so many years ago, I went straight to the pub as the shock was too much.
It about three years after my breakdown and life had gone to crap that I went to my first meeting and these thoughts came back to me last night. And it had been a Sunday morning at 11:00 when I said with some defiance that I belonged in a meeting of AA. And I had listened enough by the time it got to 12:00, and promptly left and went to the pub just up the road.
I had gulped down a pint to stop my involuntary shakes and then left the pub. And a member of the meeting was just happened to pass by, and stopped and talked to me. And as the member was female, attractive and gave me her phone number to me, suggesting I might call if I needed her help. Well I was taken aback and was pleasantly surprised and thought my luck was in. You know how it is, well my ego was still apt to play up back then, and well just how dumb can a bloke be? I wince inside and smile at those memories and my ignorance and silliness..
All recollected last night and with a quiet acceptance of my road travelled since then. Just another dumb bloke with enough arrogance to keep on drinking and that’s what I did. I did not see that attractive female member again for nearly five years. She is now happily married, and could not remember me, now that taught me a lesson!
And I kept on drinking for the oblivion, for the awful jobs I did and deep depression I had never climbed out of and the blackness that followed me around like my own personal cloud. Madness? You bet it was. Being a natural depressive, and this is a trait in one side of the family, I discovered later, drink has always been a favoured way of medicating life away. Knowing this does not stop anyone from their path to oblivion, without some help and support of the right kind, and there was none I could find just then. It was there you know, but I could not or would not see or find it, not yet.
Anyway, I did not speak last night and felt content to hear others, and the stories are not so different. And my losing myself in hearing others is very cathartic. I get to realise over and over how easy we can slip into our dependence and then die from it, or get into recovery. And what is always there, the sure knowledge that it is as easy as blinking our eyes to forget and pick up a drink in a moment of thoughtlessness, anger and depression, joyful exuberance or just plain dumbness. I have met quite a few people along the way to recovery who are now dead, too many I realise who did not get this basic step of powerless and unmanageable living.
So I got hear others stories and how they, my fellows and friends are making their way, and it is always just for one day that we strive to make life work. This one day only.
Now at this meeting we have chips to hand out. Tokens/Medals of sobriety. You may have heard of this. We give out some tin. The chips given are for time sober. There is a 24 hour, 30 day, 2,3,4,5,6 month, 9 month and then yearly chips.
We value most of all the 24 hour chip, for anyone going a day without a drink, it’s the hardest day of their lives to that point. But the more durable chips are the yearly ones and I have a couple of those. So there were quite few handed out last night. From early days, then to years sober. Quite a few low numbers and then someone with 11 years went up for theirs, and it was out of stock! Can you believe it? Well we are all patient by the time we get that far along, so it will have to be ordered I guess or they will go get one from somewhere else. One person had flown round the world to pick theirs up for seven years I think, which is very poignant to me and everyone I feel. And we give applause. Its the 24 hour one though that counts the most.
So a good meeting, and under any other business there is the vacancy for tea maker. Now I have done this before. And doing the tea, it’s a great way to keep on coming back to a regular meeting. I did not volunteer straight off. Wanted to check with the other tea person first if it were ok with them for me to help too. And when I approached they were very pleased. So next week I’ll have a word with them and see if its ok, because I know some weeks I may not be able to get there and stand long enough to do the job. I am sure it’ll be ok, but best to ask first, I hate the idea of letting people down even though I have no control over how I will be day to day.
I nearly went for a coffee after but had to get home for something to eat as my sugar levels dropped too low to stay out, and my feet were roasting by now. Just another day…
Last week is still bothering me and have had no news yet. So will keep you "posted" on what happens next.
Its just gone 5:00 AM and the baby next door has had their morning feed and gone back to sleep. Cries in the early hours don’t bother me, as I am wide awake. I was still wondering how to help my neighbour as mentioned the other day, seems all is turning out for the better as one of her family came to see her yesterday. That’s a relief.
So, when will I start my new meds regime, on top of those already? I think I’ll ask for more advice, the side effects still look so long. But losing the pain, well.. I fear I will lose my writing ability for a month or two and that bothers me too, amitriptyline after all is a tricyclic antidepressant and its side effect is pain relief for neuropathy. This is an inevitable road to another acceptance I guess.
And darn it I forgot my insulin last night, last injection, so my sugar level is too high for overnight fasting, and too high this morning. Means I'll have to guess the amount and work to get it back to normal during today. Now that is a flipping nuisance and not good.
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