August 24 2012 | AA 12 Steps In Action | Step 8 Amends And Willing Alcoholics Anonymous Today's AA daily reflection: "a riddle that works… The spiritual experience…" I don't know what a spiritual experience might be to you, because I'm not inside your emotions and thinking and experiences, I can hear your story though. And it is not for me to judge what keeps another person sober today, simply share my experience strength and hope which may help another person on their journey…
Video for Today:
Last night’s meeting was great, the person in the chair sharing their message was just over eight years sober and only just qualified to be allowed to share at the after eight years meeting. That is they can do the chair but anyone can share back. And for the first years of my sobriety, I tried to share as often as I can because expression helps me get feedback. I feel a little wary of going to the after eights, being over eight years I might get picked, and I only have a few months over 8 to illuminate my sharing…
The most important person in the meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous group is the newcomer, why? Because without them we will forget why we are all there, sharing experience strength and hope of how to be sober one day at a time. We will join a click or clique, we will try and interpret the twelve steps and twelve traditions to suit ourselves, we will become disagreeable in group consciences and judgemental. We will think we will know it all, and see the newcomer as a nuisance rather than part of the primary purpose… And then we will remember the primary purpose…
One of my spiritual experiences in recovery was being ripped off by older wiser old timers… They helped me immensely curb my desire to commit homicide, because homicide wouldn't have punish them, it might lead me into relapse. And I was called all sorts of names by one person who was a self styled Messiah media type, big head small pond. It was a good spiritual experience to learn my feelings around emotions I don't like me, and never want to push them on other people…
We can upset, we can infuriate, we can apologise, we can understand, we can misread, we can misinterpret, we can mis-hear what is being said. We can look for the bad in what is being said always can look for the good in what is being said, we can critique the message and how it is delivered, we can understand the message if we are open honest and willing to learn. I need to keep on learning every day, to understand where I go awry and to understand where I find an honest path to tread with humility and with love…
AA Daily Reflections ~ "August 24 Step 8 Daily Reflections Video Reading: A riddle that works... It may be possible to find explanations of spiritual experiences such as ours, but I have often tried to explain my own and have succeeded only in giving the story of it. I know the feeling it gave me and the results it has brought, but I realize I may never fully understand its deeper why and how. [As Bill sees it..]
I had a profound spiritual experience during an open A.A. meeting, which led me to blurt out. “I’m an alcoholic!” I have not had a drink since that day. I can tell you the words I heard just prior to my admission, and how those words affected me, but as to why it happened, I do not know. I believe a power greater than myself chose me to recover, yet I do not know why. I try not to worry or wonder about what I do not yet know; instead, I trust that if I continue to work the Steps, practice the A.A. principles in my life, and share my story, I will be guided lovingly toward a deep and mature spirituality in which more will be revealed to me. For the time being, it is a gift for me to trust God, work the Steps and help others."
DonInLondon 2005 2011
Back in the final days of drinking I can forget how bad it got... Then I hear a harrowing share detailing the physical and emotional horror. I sat there feeling the shock of truth. My story no less shocking mirrored what I heard. We humans have amazing capacities to recover when we find a path.
In recent months many newcomers to the fellowship. Some very wary of the people, the places, what they hear and what they see. In early days I wanted to fit in and be a good student. I did people please, and I did get caught in the web of some with little or no integrity. And then realised that fellowship is like all walks of life, people are people, some good and some bad, plenty of wisdom to learn and plenty of chaff a day at a time...
August 2008 ~ 2010
Spiritual experience, all day every day... some suggest it is the ability to cope with now, some suggest it is letting go our opinion and personal view "thinking kept me drinking," some suggest less denials and more truth, less of a personal judgment and standing in others shoes. Could it be simply living in the moment?
"All inclusive today" In fellowship, in life and more in tune with "truth, love and wisdom shared with me." To be included, loved and develop choices in life as life happens. There is always a balance in what we can and cannot do today, accepting the truth is my connection to spiritual today...
August 24 2007
DonInLondon - ‘Day In the Life’ New Horizons
Fells like new horizons and sensible life feels very sensible these days. Just aiming at ordinary life feels extraordinary and overwhelming all at the same time.
Family Close Today
My Mum, Sister, Brother, Sister in Law, Three nephews and one a Godson.
I saw them all today, my close family and it was all because, they wanted to see where I am to live. All went well, a short blast of all my relatives at one go, in the space of a couple of hours and an AA meeting as well. No wonder I feel different right now. Normal family connections and happy moments.
I see happiness in their living and contentment, some away watching the Merchant of Venice during the afternoon, one man and his son out on an expedition to Harrods, all pretty busy stuff. And all at my new abode for six, except my Sister at work. I saw her later and we shared some food and talked. We talk of everything and recent times and sad moments to reflect on who is missing, her partner. The touch of loss remains profound and talking helps each day I feel, I hope. And its good to talk.
Nowadays the meeting of all family at once is new in my living. As life before had become so fearful I could see no one at all, least of all family. It seems a decade has past since those dark days, then to months and then to years
Where fear gripped and nothing least of all family could be faced. A breakdown so profound back then, I hid in the dark.
To be in company, to be in a meeting of AA, I am struck that its taken me a while to be able to face anything. I don’t feel my story unique or special. Its just my story and living through difficult times has been tough and then impossible to imagine in terms of anguish and pain as deep can be. I am far from alone in all these times, and I tread in steps taken by so many often in silence until life ended harshly often and in fear.
Today has been good. To talk evenly, to challenge my own philosophy and find it better for the wisdom of others. To share tough moments and see I am not that different. And in fellowship find how to be again, simply just me..
Worn out by this day, this is enough for tonight and will look again in the morning with fresh eyes.
August 24 2006 [about last year]
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far Away not!
Yesterday was not so hot, I was definitely not feeling particularly good. As I mentioned my blood sugar levels seemed high and I thought I must have got something wrong with the insulin dose. I am very careful doing the injections and the amount of insulin to use, based on my blood sugar levels. Sometimes though, whatever I do, the blood sugar changes quite quickly and it did yesterday. It went from 9.1 to 2.6, from reasonably high to low within a couple of hours. I was just have some cheese and oat biscuits, lunch when I had a "hypo".
A "hypo" What is it?
"Hypoglycaemia, also called low blood sugar, occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) level drops too low to provide enough energy for your body's activities. In adults or children older than 10 years, hypoglycaemia is uncommon except as a side effect of diabetes treatment, but it can result from other medications or diseases, hormone or enzyme deficiencies, or tumours.
The symptoms, hunger, nervousness and shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, confusion, difficulty speaking, feeling anxious or weak"
Well I had all the symptoms and felt awful. And my heart was pounding in seconds. I also felt cold and shivery. I got some orange juice and gulped it down quickly and checked my blood sugar as I said, it was 2.6. The symptoms went on for a few minutes and I got into bed and waited for things to get back to normal. Next thing I know its an hour or so later. And I feel sick. I can taste the orange juice in my mouth and my stomach is acidic. But whatever was going on the shakes and other symptoms have subsided, I just have a thick head and headache. I had some water and waited a while. I must have dropped off to sleep, it was 5:00PM when I woke up.
Grateful for some sleep, but a thick head, I wondered what to do next. I took my blood sugar reading again, it was 8.6, a bit high, but that was ok. I still felt disoriented and was half of a mind to stay put for the evening but felt it better to find some company and not dwell on events.
If nothing else being on my own when having a hypo is scary, and I have only a little time to sort out what to do. Its not hard to get things back on an even keel, just take some juice and get the sugar level up, and things return to some sort of normality. I don’t like this happening, its just what happens though. And part of me is relieved I am able to sort it on my own, and not be out when it happens, the other part wonders what will happen if I don’t treat things in time and am on my own.
Anyway, my feet seemed ok and not too painful and staying in alone just felt wrong. So I had a quick wash. Then decided to go to a meeting. Not my usual one, I felt so wiped out, and it was one of those meetings where we talk about a particular part of recovery and need to concentrate, and I had no concentration.
There is another meeting close by, only two stops on the tube and actually less walking involved, I had never been there, but it was easy to get to and only an hour long ordinary meeting. The meetings help me focus and clear the fog in my noggin.
My eyes were pretty blurry too, so it was easier to get to the tube, its at the end of my street. Being 6:30 in the evening, the platforms were packed and I had to squeeze on to the first train. It was claustrophobic and smelt of wet people as it had been pouring down with rain on my way. It smelled pretty bad actually and really cheesy, and we were all jammed up. I felt my legs shaking and there was nowhere to sit. Anyway I made the two stops and got out. Fresh air was a relief.
Still pouring down, I got out and walked the hundred yards to the Church, another one with a meeting hall in the basement. And to my surprise I knew almost all the 20 or so people at the meeting.
Never having been to this meeting before and here I am in a room full of people I know. Its an immediate relief and I feel like I am home. Tea is on tap and a chocolate biscuit to keep my blood sugar up.
I know the speaker and we go through the usual hello’s and welcome’s. And then I find this meeting is to discuss changing its day to congregate, as the football is on Wednesdays and the meeting is right next to Chelsea football ground. But the regulars will discuss the change after the ordinary meeting and when I and others who just dropped in tonight have gone. Strange I thought, to find this meeting just before its going to change its usual day. But the good news was it was a perfect and really good meeting to attend and the speaker was excellent on his experience strength and hope for sobriety. We all had a few moments to share our stuff, and I related the events of my day and my choice to go to that meeting last night. I was feeling very much better by the end of it.
I was glad I went, and one chap asked me to speak at another meeting later this week deep in the heart of Chelsea.
Well nearly! You might wonder why I chose the nickname DonInChelsea. For a load of reasons actually. Mainly because for the last fifteen years I have either had my own place in Chelsea, been homeless in Chelsea, or nearly living in Chelsea. My Mother and Sister live in Chelsea. And in the recent past I have worked locally in Chelsea, doing anything I can do to be employed. Until recently, with the ailments I have had, working has not been possible. So I have been ill in Chelsea and most recently in recovery in Chelsea. DonInChelsea seemed appropriate. Technically I am just on the borders where I am housed right now, but am definitely in the Boro’ of Chelsea! And of course my clinic is in the Chelsea and
I also did a lot of writing to try and get some kind of work on a local mag most recently. I’ve been trying to find work which I can do which is flexible enough to deal with all the things I have to do besides to keep well. Writing seems to be a way forward. Or so it seems. Maybe it will be something completely different and that would be ok too.
My efforts so far have not produced any results of a financial nature. But you never know. Whatever happens next I am keeping an eye out to work, my economy is busted with water, gas and electricity going up. And living on porridge, a lot of the time. Actually the real reason for living on porridge, vegetables and just a meagre amount of protein is simply a necessity of my diet as well as just affordable.
Good job I like porridge, just with cold water, after a week or so of eating it, its really nice, honest!
After the meeting last night I chatted with a chap who is a live wire. By this I mean someone very into recovery and helping people. We had a great chat about a lot of things to do with recovery and life. And all by the tube station. It is great to meet and get to make connections with people who just want to relate and be friendly, just aim to be helpful and share a bit of time, without any other motive.
There are of course all sorts of things going on in our fellowship besides just being friends and getting on with our programme. People meet and go out, get to know others who just don’t drink anymore. If one of these days I get bold enough, or the right connection happens, well you never know. I never got married but even though I am fifty and somewhat, well how can I put it, maybe past my prime? Smiles.
Anyway the boy girl aspects of fellowship life, there are some obvious things we don’t do if we are sensible, like get involved in early recovery. But we are human and fallible, and sober, which doesn’t stop us from behaving or misbehaving as nature still runs its course. And we are all as daft as brushes when it comes to love…
Fortunately with depression and other elements of my medication, love has not featured too highly on the agenda. And recovery is my primary goal. I still love to be in female company, and the ratio of men and women seems about right. This may be so, but we soon find as AA is open to all persuasions, that all people are fully represented as in real life and there are no exceptions.
So we are truly a reflection of society in all its make up, from religion, age sex and orientations. I have met some of the classiest women ever in AA (by this I mean women who know themselves and are independent in their thinking), and who knows, well this mans heart still feels like it would love to be in a relationship. Even though the reality scares me to death. Be bold, I hear my Dad suggesting from the grave.
Alcohol is an equal opportunities leveller, no matter what our backgrounds class or colour, it gets us all if we are predisposed.
I got home, it had been good to be out, and my head definitely had cleared. My hands were still shaking and the overall effects of earlier, although subsided had left me tired.
I watched the last episode Jane Hall and something on Channel 4, sorry Beeb, your telly last night was not for me. I am not a football fanatic, and Newsnight was too heavy.
When I got to bed, I dropped off pretty quickly and woke with a start and another bad dream. it’s a real blinking nuisance, at about quarter to two. These dreams are all about last weeks events. My head is still upset for sure. And no amount of meetings has worked. I still have anxiety, and the panic which has subsided is just there below the surface. I am not really enjoying life day by day. And I am not as confident as I had been. Being undermined so completely, I know this was maybe not the intent last week, that is the outcome.
What can I do?
Well my psychiatrist has moved my appointment forward to next week. I have still to hear from the GP. I am uncertain what to do about seeing the GP, if they want to see me at all, to be truthful I don’t want to see them ever again. I know this is a reaction though and wonder if I will change my mind.
I have to wait on what the DWP will tell me next and see what is what. Out of my hands, And certainly I don’t have any voice at the moment.
I am really not happy to take anything extra in medication terms, especially having had a hypo yesterday. Anything which might knock me out overnight, which is another side effect, and the danger of a hypo in my sleep, well it feels too dangerous to contemplate.
The best to do, is keep to a regular pattern of maintenance, stick to my plain diet, and monitor my blood sugars. Accept the pains in my feet as they are, and get advice next week.
My eyesight is back to pretty much normal now as well. Not so blurry. So that’s good.
Above all these things to keep going to my meetings. The one I missed last night on how to do part of the recovery programme, there is another meeting just close by which covers the same topic tonight, so I’ll go to that one instead.
Again I am so grateful to be where I am right now, and it was just luck that the emergency housing officer found me a place so close to all these meetings, the hospital and not too far from my Sister and Mother. And truthfully, I don’t care about being right next to the tube lines, I can stand the rattle and noise every minute or two, its 5:10AM and there they are already, rattling past. And even the Picadilly line goes right under the house I am in and shakes it every few minutes.
When people look at me, they comment sometimes on how well I seem to be, if they knew what goes on inside, I don’t know what they might think. And sharing the truth is as difficult as writing here. But if I don’t share the truth of how things are, I might never get the support when I need it, especially as I don’t want it. I would rather keep going on with a brave face and pull myself together, even when I can’t. Now how dumb is that?
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